• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Feeling Weaker All the Time

Thanks to Karry for this week’s post:

I’ve enjoyed reading A Praying Life by Paul Miller.  I have always wanted to be more committed to prayer and deeper in my own praying.  A few times I’ve felt frustrated, wondering what it will take to spur me ahead in this area.  This book has helped, and chapter 20 touches on one of the things God is doing to teach my heart to pray.

Early in Chapter 20, Miller writes about his prayer for his teenage daughter. “I was keenly aware of my inability to grow faith in her heart.  God just had to do it.”

I’ve really noticed that.  My own inabilities drive me to prayer.  I probably should say they leave me with no other recourse than to pray.  The things that matter most to me are mostly out of my control. 

As I have coached and taught and mentored my three sons from childhood to adulthood, I have constantly been reminded of the reality. Although I work hard to teach them well, in the end, they make their own decisions.  In disciple-making and church planting, it’s similar.  The ultimate outcomes depend on other people’s decisions.

For an action-oriented person like me, this is a very frustrating situation.  My first impulse usually is to figure out what to do, to find a way to solve the problem, to see the opportunity and seize it.  My first impulse is to leave prayer for later.

During our oldest son’s senior year in High School, he developed a relationship with his first girlfriend. The nice young lady had previously dated a Mormon, and during the 18 months our son pursued her, she became increasingly involved with Mormonism.

Charlyn and I, of course, had many talks with him.  Our son desperately wanted to convince her of the falsehood of Mormonism and win her to true faith in Christ.  We were pretty patient.  Our basic strategy was to present biblical truth, sound reasoning, and our own hearts.  But it took forever.  Those 18 months felt like 18 years. 

I realized how weak I really am.  So much hung in the balance.  Could our son get himself trapped in a cult?  Or might he be led into moral compromise?  What was going to happen to our son?  He had to sort it out for himself.  I was completely out of control.

I could only pray.

One thing I learned through that experience is that I really am weak. Seeing my weakness for what it is strengthens my faith in God who alone is strong.  It also moves me to pray.  And when I really see clearly, I can even relax about it.  Even though the most important things in life are out of my control, they are in God’s control!

I wish that were a lesson I had learned once and for all, but my basic makeup has only changed gradually.  A few days ago, Charlyn was exhausted, so I stayed up to help our female dog deliver puppies.  After the dog pushed and groaned for more than two hours, I decided she needed a C-Section.

I woke up Charlyn and, after her more experienced examination, she agreed.  We quickly packed for a midnight run to the vet emergency room.  Then Charlyn said, “Let’s pray.” Charlyn’s first reaction nearly always is to pray.  “Now she’s doing it again,” I thought to myself.  Even though I knew better, I blurted out what I was thinking: “What good will that do.  She obviously has to have a C-Section.  You can pray while we drive.”

Charlyn glanced over at me, her husband and leader.  And of course, we stopped and prayed right then.  Within ten minutes, the first puppy was born and the danger passed.  God is relentlessly working to tame my desperately activist heart.  I’m glad He is patient.  And I’m glad He is so innovative.  He has spoken to me through a Mormon girl, and He has spoken through my son.  He’s even spoken to me through our dog.  And of course, He always speaks to me through my wife.


PS:  Our son finally broke up with the Mormon girl and put that experience behind him.  Several years later, God blessed him with the woman of his dreams.  They were married in June, 2008 and live in Chicago where he is in medical school and they are members of Willow Chicago Church.

2 Responses

  1. Kerry, thanks so much for sharing with us. You shared the realities of life and how ready God is to teach us through them. I always tend to think what God is doing in these kind of situations is about the other person (I am so selfless, right?) and it is my heart that God is after. He is so big He can do it all at once!

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