Don’t be afraid to find yourself right in the middle of a contradiction.
It is usually where God grows your faith.
Everyone deals with doubt and insecurity.
Everyone deals with lust and selfish desires.
Everyone deals with fears and worry.
Everyone lives in the paradox…
…I am strong, I am weak,
I am handsome, I am ugly,
I am thin, I am fat,
I am caring, I am selfish,
I am in control, I am falling apart,
I am at peace, I am afraid,
I am Godly, I am a heathen,
I am forgiven, I am ashamed,
I am smart, I am dumb,
I am special, I am nobody,
I am patient, I can’t wait,
I am a faith giant, I am full of doubt,
I am excited, I am depressed,
I am in awe, I am unimpressed,
I am strong, I am weak,
I am going to make it, I am not sure I can…
Our faith grows the strongest when we are not depending on our strength, intellect and resources.
Our roots grow deep when we stop trying to control, stop trying to overcome, and we surrender our fragile egos at the footsteps of the door of Grace.
The Apostle Paul reminds me of something I quickly forget, “We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7
If I wait for my contradictions to go away, I will never live.
Paul, this hero of faith, brags about his superhero strength when he says, “I do what I know I shouldn’t do, and I don’t do what I know I should.”
He then says to the church in Philippi, “Follow me, and you will experience peace”.
He was living in the reality of the contradiction that he was called to lead others by his example yet he did not have the strength, on his own, to lead well.
He had to depend fully on the power of God and His Grace.
Paul challenged the Galatians that “God gives you His Spirit and works through you to offer people His hope not because you are strong enough to follow the law, but because you received the Good News of His Grace and are allowing His power to work through you.”
It is easy to discount my faith and the purpose God has for me when I allow my contradictions to control me..
I must fully embrace the contradiction that in my weakness, He is strong.
I must remind myself that even though I can’t solve everyone’s problems and change the world in a day, that I do have the most powerful force living in me, God’s love, hope and Grace.
When I do that, I become more powerful than I can ever imagine.
In his book The Easy Yoke, Doug Webster tells a story about an idealistic college student who ended up on a mission trip to one of the more dangerous housing projects in Philadelphia.
Frightened and anxious to share his faith, the young man approached a very large tenement home. Cautiously making his way through the dark, cluttered hallways, he climbed up one flight of stairs to an apartment.
He knocked on the door, and a woman with a cigarette in her mouth, holding a naked, crying baby opened it. Not in any mood to hear some white, idealistic college boy to tell her about Jesus, she started cursing and slammed the door in his face. He was devastated. He walked out on the street, sat on the curb and wept, feeling worthless and inept.
Then he said, “It felt like God whispered some wisdom in my ear.”
He got up and ran down the street to the local market and bought a box of diapers and a pack of cigarettes.
When he knocked on the door again, he showed the woman his purchases. She hesitated and then invited him in.
For the rest of the day, he played with the baby and changed its diapers (even though he had never changed diapers before).
When the woman offered him a cigarette, he took one (even though he had never smoked before).
For the day, he said very little.
Late in the afternoon, the woman asked him why he was doing all this, and he told her about his relationship with Jesus and how much Jesus loved her. It took about 5 minutes.
When he stopped talking, the woman looked at him and softly said, “Pray for me and my baby that we can make it out of here alive.”
When we allow ourselves to be put in vulnerable, seemingly over-our-head situations, and simply offer the dignity and the love of God in tangible ways, His spirit works through us, our faith grows, and most importantly…OUR CONTRADICTIONS BECOME IRRELEVANT.