So much for Paul. How about you? Fast forward to the 21st century. Are you afflicted and burdened excessively? Do you feel as if you're under such intense pressure these days that you, too, are close to despair? I have some surprising news: you're exactly where God wants you to be. It took all these years to get you this low, this needy. Now, look up!
Are you feeling crushed and confused, misunderstood, and beaten down? Resist the temptation to roll up your sleeves and muster a self-imposed recovery plan. This is your opportunity! Rather than fighting back, surrender. Embrace your weakness. Tell your heavenly Father that you are trusting in the strength of His power. If Paul could do it, so can you. So can I.
At this moment I am facing a few impossible situations. No doubt, so are you. To be honest, I'm too weak to handle any of them. So are you. I'm often near tears. I'm frequently discouraged. There's hardly a week that passes that I don't slump into a mild feeling of discouragement. Sound familiar? Admit it! Some nights I don't sleep well. There are times that I absolutely weep out of disappointment in some individual's failure ... or my own. You too? You and I need to face the fact that we will never be able to handle any of these pressures alone. When we acknowledge this, and not until, His strength will be released in us.
Are you ready to face the next battle with a new strategy? OK, start by surrendering. Instead of returning to your same-old method — doing a month of mental push-ups, talking yourself into looking strong and acting brave, putting on the gloves and stepping into the ring with swagger, relying on your own strength to win and succeed and impress. Stop and surrender. Drop to your knees and cry out to God. Admit your inadequacies, and declare your inability to keep going on your own.
If you're finally ready to step aside and let Him have His way, say so; then do it. He will honour your admission of weakness by showing Himself strong through you. But if you don't, He won't.
It's your call.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.