Accceptance of what is, submission to the inevitable, letting go and letting God are the beginnings of being made whole. When I surrender all my scrambling and am at peace with what is already present I make a space for God to work in my life and to bring it to wholeness. The apostle Paul said this beautifully in the passage from 2 Corinthians that was read today. Here is a translation of the passage from Eugene Petersen’s The Message:
"Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, 'My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into it’s own in your weakness.' Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size . . . I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” (12:7-10)
I have experienced the wholeness that comes from submitting to my limitations and allowing God’s grace and strength to come into it’s own in my weakness. But I know that I will forget what I know and fall into striving for perfection again and again. Donna in all her perfection will beckon to me and I will follow her. And I will fail to catch up with her. I will fall short and be reminded that perfection as we human beings understand it is an illusion, that I can’t become whole on my own, and that I have to let God have some room to do God’s thing. I will look at my somewhat messy house, at the leaves that didn’t get raked before the snow came, at the boxes of old papers waiting to be organized in my home office, and I will remember that God’s grace and strength are made perfect in my weakness. Perhaps someone will feel better about himself or herself when he or she sees that there’s another imperfect person in the world! Perhaps my children will be better off because I spent a little more time with them than with my vacuum cleaner. Perhaps I will write an inspiring sermon or make a beautiful blanket for a newborn child because I didn’t put the laundry away right away. Who knows what grace and strength will reveal itself when I submit to being me? And who knows what grace and strength will reveal itself when you submit to being you? Who knows? God knows. Amen.
FULL SERMON HERE