“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)
It’s hard to turn on the news these days without hearing something about climate change, fossil fuels or renewable energy sources. Some people find it a divisive issue; some people just wish we could all get along. No matter what your political stance on the issue, there are a few truths that cannot be escaped: we only have one planet, and we as a society need energy.
So we argue about the best source of the energy we need to power our everyday lives. We find new ways of extracting fossil fuels and faster ways of building solar panels. All the while, no matter how low the fuel reserves are and how slow the windmills are being built and how locked up in Congress the necessary energy mandates are, we still need power.
Recently at my Moms & Kids group, local author Rebecca Worl came to talk about the struggle she had finding the energy she needed to be a full-time mom. While she was talking about Paul’s struggle against pride in 2 Corinthians, she said something that struck me to the core: “We cannot depend on ourselves for this energy, we all need sustainable power.”
That’s the thing about Paul’s struggle in his letter to the Corinthians. He realized that where his power had come from before wasn’t sustainable. If anyone had a reason to be prideful about their accomplishments in the faith, it would have been Paul, a Pharisee of Pharisees, the best of the best. But it was that pride that blinded him to what he really needed. It was that pride that told him he could do it alone because he knew better than everyone else. God not only knocked him off his pedestal to show Paul whose power is really needed, but gave Paul a “thorn in [his] flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7) to remind him that arrogance only led to death and destruction.
I struggle with the “I can do it myself” kind of pride all the time. That kind of “independence” often leads me to believe I need to have it all together and make sure people don’t see the broken things or the hard things. When I think about all the times I have buried my past shame or fear or hurt, all in the name of pride, I realize that I so often use that to fuel me instead of the ever-present power of the Holy Spirit.
Because if you think about it, what else are fossil fuels but things that died and then were buried so deep that they transformed into something that burns?
That kind of fuel is exhausting. It is limited, it is hard to drum up, it is easy to fight over, and it is difficult to let go of. God is a God of light and breath who is offering limitless energy if we are willing to let down our vanity.
So what fuels your life? Is it the pride of the past things that you’ve buried deep, or the light and breath of the God who sees your weaknesses and lets you rest while He is strong?
Ali can be reached via email here.