I looked at my phone this morning and saw “Wednesday, September 11” right under the time, and thought, “Oh my goodness, it’s 9/11.” I guess I knew it was coming — I knew it was somewhere in the vicinity — I had heard rumors, but it hadn’t really registered. On the one hand, it’s just another beautiful September day; on the other hand, it’s a deep pockmark on the face of a nation. You can date the movie you are watching by the look of the New York skyline. It’s a permanent pock on our skyline to remind us of our weakness and vulnerability — how a mere handful of hate-filled people could cause so much damage, fear and loss of life.
At the same time, I read in 2 Corinthians 12 this morning where Paul is wishing to boast in his many visionary revelations from God or his religious pedigree, but he chose to boast instead about his weaknesses including a “thorn” in his flesh — “a messenger from Satan” to torment him — in order to keep him from getting proud. No one knows what this was, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s not what it was but what it did for him. It set off the power of Christ in his life. “I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
It’s all about power. Where does the power come from? Does it come from us — our personality strengths, our clever manipulation of events and outcomes, our superior knowledge, even our experiences, or does it come from God? The only way to really tell is when we are powerless. When we are weak and vulnerable. And what does God use to keep you and me on edge?
Next week in the Catch, we are kicking off a three-week Membership Campaign with the study of a passage in scripture I know better than any other, but I will be looking personally at it this time for something I know I don’t have. We’re going to be talking about power — power to live in the Spirit, power to change, power to go beyond our limits, and power to be the person God made us to be. So if you know all about that, feel free to sit out the next three weeks, but if you don’t (and I don’t think many do) then don’t miss a day of discovery, because, I promise you, I don’t even know at this point what I will be uncovering, I just know I won’t settle for anything less than the real thing. And on top of that, I have a wife who will insist on this being more than just a head trip.
The title for our series will be, “Where the Spirit is.” And what I will be seeking is the ability to say, along with Paul, “I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message” (2 Corinthians 12:6). In other words, if you walk alongside me and can’t see what I’m talking about, then unsubscribe.
So on 9/11/2019, what’s the pock on your landscape? What’s the thorn in your flesh? What are your weaknesses, and are you willing to boast about them? Why or why not?