Monday, June 08, 2009

Power in weakness…

In and through Jesus we come to know God as a powerless God, who becomes dependent on us. But it is precisely in this powerlessness that God’s power reveals itself. This is not the power that controls, dictates, and commands. It is the power that heals, reconciles, and unites. It is the power of the Spirit. When Jesus appeared people wanted to be close to him and touch him because “power came out of him” (Luke 6:19).

It is this power of the divine Spirit that Jesus wants to give us. The Spirit indeed empowers us and allows us to be healing presences. When we are filled with that Spirit, we cannot be other than healers…

The Spirit that Jesus gives us empowers us to speak. Often when we are expected to speak in front of people who intimidate us, we are nervous and self-conscious. But if we live in the Spirit, we don’t have to worry about what to say. We will find ourselves ready to speak when the need is there. “When they take you before… authorities, do not worry about how to defend yourselves or what to say, because when the time comes, the Holy Spirit will teach you what you should say” (Luke 12:11-12).

We waste much of our time in anxious preparation. Let’s claim the truth that the Spirit that Jesus gave us will speak in us and speak convincingly.

Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey

I’m not wholly comfortable with Nouwen’s use of the word “claim” in that final paragraph, but that’s probably just because it reminds me of some of the Prosperity Gospellers’ “claims”! What Nouwen means, though, is that we should trust God in our own weakness, to rest in the fact that it’s his strength, his wisdom, through the Spirit he has given us, that will bring us through whatever difficulties we may face. Bring us through to his glory, to his truth, that is: there is no guarantee in Scripture of our present physical wellbeing, unless we require that to fulfil God’s will. But as he promised to Paul (2 Corinthians 12.9), “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”

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