Harder Family

Harder Family

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Weakness = Strength

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "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. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

It is counter intuitive to our thinking that weakness is really strength. Everywhere we look in our society, we are told to be strong...physically, emotionally and mentally. We are inundated with images of muscular bodies challenging us to be stronger then we are now. You never see a weak person on a billboard challenging you - "Don't you want to be weak?". Yet throughout scripture, God talks about the person who is weak and humble. God isn't looking for people to be weak as we define weak (quiet church mice who don't know how to speak, frail, etc). What He is looking for is people who are humble and see that apart from HIM they are nothing and weak. They depend entirely upon Him for strength and seek His face everyday. James 4:4-10 explains this well: "You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that He jealously longs for the spirit He has caused to dwell in us? But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up." (underlined emphasis is mine).

We are to submit to God, draw near to Him, repent and purify our hearts, and humble ourselves before the Lord. What happens when we do that? He lifts us up and He makes us strong. I am writing this because I have seen this first hand in Wayne over the past few weeks. Wayne still suffers from aphasia (People who have aphasia may have difficulty speaking and finding the "right" words to complete their thoughts). I can see at times his battle with feeling defeated by this problem. He feels weak when he prays and when he tries to discuss a sermon we listen to online. He can't always articulate what is in his brain into words. It is hard to see someone you love struggling with something like this. I think he is doing great, but I can understand that he wants to be "normal" again. But do you know what I see emerging through all of this "weakness"? I see strength. He is depending on God now more then ever and I can see God transforming his weakness into strength. His prayers are slower, but they are also deeper. God told us that sometimes when we are unable to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us. Romans 8:26-27 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God." I believe that the Spirit is doing that for Wayne when he is struggling in his prayers. What Wayne sees as weakness, God sees as strength because Wayne is depending on Him and not himself. Wayne's "weakness" is daily challenging me to be more dependent upon the Spirit as well. It is so easy to say that we are depending on Him, it is so much harder to actually do it. God continually is drawing our hearts closer to Him. It is our prayer that God continues to work in our life transforming us more into His image and that He is glorified every step of the way.

Wayne's doctor adjusted his seizure medicine on Thursday in attempts to stop the random seizures. This should help his body while he is on his chemo cycles the next few months. The new level of medicine seems to be helping Wayne a lot. He was able to take a 3 mile walk with the family on Saturday and yesterday he went to work the whole day. He did say he was tired, but he had enough energy to get through the day. God is good!! We know that we have a long road ahead of us, but we also know that we have the best one to depend upon as we walk this journey.

Here are some pictures from Wayne's first full day back at work. He worked from home until a client meeting. We drove him to his meeting near O'Hare and then a co-worker drove him back to work.

For the past few months, we have been watching a nest. We thought the birds were peregrine falcons, but we discovered yesterday that it was actually a cooper hawk nest. One of the young birds is out of the nest and wandering our yard. The girls have taken it upon themselves to protect the bird from any predators. Yesterday when the bird appeared on our front steps, the girls had me call a peregrine helpline to find out what we needed to do to help the bird. That is when we learned that the bird was actually a cooper hawk. We also learned that at young bird leaving the nest is quiet normal. They call this process fledgling. We read all about fledgling this morning in our science book (nothing like sneaking in some science during summer break).

Finally, we were blessed to reconnect with a sweet friend of ours, Gloria Parker. Wayne's book has been a blessing to me in many ways. One of those blessings has come from reconnecting with people from the past. Gloria is such an amazing, godly woman. I loved hearing her share how God has been working in her life. I also learned that Gloria is a crochet instructor. I am working on arranging a summer crocheting class for the girls. I guess I'm a mean teacher, I'm always finding creative ways to keep them learning, even in the summer. 

There were two things that stuck in my mind from our conversation with Gloria. 1) Gloria was talking about people being bored. She said the only board she knows is her ironing board. I thought that was hilarious and will be using it with the girls this summer if they say they are bored. 2) She said that God is sovereign and has a plan, but He also invites us to pray and ask Him anything, so that is what she is doing for Wayne. She is boldly approaching the throne for Wayne and asking God to do a mighty work in him.

Hebrews 4:15-16 "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

1 John 5:14-15 "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him." 

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