A lot of thoughts in my head today. I had a real good Lord's Day today in spite of not being in the Word much the last week or so. But to be in worship this morning and hear the Word preached and take part in communion with my brothers and sisters in Christ can do wonders.
At the beginning of May I started a new little Bible study "program" that I developed after reading a couple books summarizing the prayer life and Bible study life of our Puritan Fathers. You can see the books here, #4 and #5. I love what I'm doing right now, but the last couple weeks I haven't been able to be as diligent as I'd like. As God's Word is wont to do, I was blown away today.
I was reading II Corinthians 12 and verses 9-10 are mind blowing.
"But he (God) 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Lately, I felt my tension and stress level going up a bit. A tell-tale sign of this is when I start playing music louder and louder and its not the calm stuff. For some reason it is a stress reliever for me.
I think the stress has partly to do with economic development research I'm doing. It is actually going pretty well. I feel a plan coming together and a course of action. But with that progress comes stress - is it the right plan? what will people in the community (and outside the community) think?, what do I really know about this stuff?, with all the issues here will anything actually work?, what can I do that hasn't been tried already?, etc, etc. In short, what do I know?
The stress is also related to what is happening on this Reservation. It is heartbreaking. Have you ever heard of the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) Study the CDC did several years ago. You can read about it here. Warning: The results of the study are not pretty and implications disturbing. In short, childhood trauma has a direct link to adult mental and medical problems. We know that children on this Reservation are living in a constant state of trauma. It is wreaking havoc on them now and will continue to do so.
Let me tell you about my friend. He's probably 5. He has the classic facial structure, physiological signs and behavioral signs of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. He lives in a house with at least 9 kids living in it from I don't know how many different families. I don't know what is happening in this house and I don't want to know. I got to spend a couple hours a day with him last week. I won't see him until next week. What will happen in the mean-time?
I was also reading Psalm 19 today.
Really, my stress is because I think I have some control over any of this. I think I have some ability to actually affect the economic realities here on the Reservation. I think I have some ability to effect change in the life of this little boy. I think I have something to boast about.
Give me a break! What can I do in this situation, but go to God. As He says in II Corinthians, His grace is sufficient. Sufficient for me, this little boy and this Reservation. Christ has been working on this Reservation long before I ever got here and He will work long after I leave. The weaker I am, the more Christ will be glorified when He accomplishes His work here in this place.
How thankful I am that it doesn't depend on me. The creator of the Universe, the One that sets the course of the stars, who has revealed Himself through His innerrent, infallible Word, is active in my life and in this place!
What other response can I have but to echo God's Word:
Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.