Focus Text: “…so that it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. This life that I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me.” (Galatians 2:20).
I USED to say, “I am born ready, yeah!” every time I face difficult circumstance or when I speak or perform to a large audience. Although it is a good self encouragement strategy, unconsciously, I fell on the idea that through my own strength—abilities, skills, talents—I can do anything.
I served in the frontline leadership of a spiritual renewal program. All went well. On the last day of that weekend, and minutes before I will give my talk, I suddenly inhaled something that caused me to cough hard with very short intervals and threw up three times.
Earlier that weekend I had been coughing because of the weather and my allergy. But at that particular moment, before I could even say a second word, I would cough a long one and would throw up. My back is hurting as if my lungs would come out along with my cough. I was leaning forward all the time, shivering. Thirty minutes left and I need to give my talk. My body is not getting well yet, so finally, I said to our director to read my script instead, knowing that I could not do it with my current state. Tears fell. I had been preparing for that talk since May. I practiced it several times. I was confident that I will deliver it best through “my” own strength. “I am born ready, yeah!”
“Bible characters fell on their strong points, never on their weak ones.”—Oswald Chambers
Self-consumed, Biblical characters like Moses, King Saul, David, fell when they forgot God’s great contribution in their lives and the people they’re leading. I was self-consumed by the assurance of my skills and talents. Yet, like God’s chosen people and leaders before—even “the man before God’s own heart”, God rebuked me in a very unlikely and surprising manner, reminding me of His sovereignty.
Fifteen minutes before the talk, our spiritual director and several staff came, prayed for me. While they were praying, I was sobbing. The fact is I, with my own strength, am NOT born ready! But the good news is, GOD CAN AND WILL MAKE ME READY!
It was time to give the talk. The other staff already prepared a bottle of lukewarm water on the lectern in case I would cough hard again. I delivered the talk and miraculously not a single or slight cough ever came out from my mouth in the entire 25 minutes talk. “God made me ready!” It is no longer I who stood in front of the participants but God through the Holy Spirit (Gal. 2:20).
We Christians are not exempted from falling into this trap. At times, we raise ourselves higher than God. And when that happens, God calls us to repentance, reminding us of His strength and not ours. When King David fell into the same sin, realized it, came to ask for God’s forgiveness. And God restored his promise to him because of that.
Relying only to God, Esther, before she became queen, is naturally beautiful and has all the positive qualities favored by all. Yet despite all these, Esther knows that her beauty and good character is nothing compared to God’s power.
Reflect: How is Christ’s power recognized in my life because “God made me ready”?
Tweet: God made me ready, yeah!
Joy Eva A. Bohol
The United Methodist Church (Philippines Central Conference)