Strength In Weakness (Part 1)

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”  II Corinthians 4:16.

I would like to share a personal story with you.  It’s not a story of a great Christian achieving great things.  It is a story of a regular person, like you, who needed help and strength from God in weakness.

A couple of years ago, I was having significant problems sleeping along with some odd symptoms I had never had before.  I would be so tired that I would fall asleep, but about an hour into it, my muscles would jerk me awake, my heart would start pounding, and I wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep.  If I did, it would be the same thing all over again, jerking, heart pounding, and then watching the clock for hours until the light of morning would come.  At that time I was averaging about 2 hours of sleep per night.  I also had this annoying numbness in my toes.  I would actually take melatonin to try to get a nap in the middle of the day, would be very, very sleepy, but could not fall asleep for a nap.  I decided I needed some help from a physician.

The doctor started me out on some very strong pills that seemed to work but could only be taken for about 10 nights in a row because they are pretty addictive.  After several blood tests, my doctor had no idea why I couldn’t sleep, but prescribed another medication that I could supposedly take forever if I needed to.  This one worked for about 5 hours a night, but I still had the muscle twitching and heart pounding.  All through this time I was praying over and over again, “Lord, please help me sleep.  I really need the sleep.”  By now I figured 5 hours a night was what I was going to have to live with.  Although the new pills were helping, they were also making me nauseated.  I ended up losing 20 pounds (and I am not big to begin with).  After months of this, I was so weak that I couldn’t stand for the entire time it took to take a shower and would have to sit for awhile before I could get done.  Finally, one night as I was lying in bed, awake again, nauseated and weak, trying to keep up with my job and housework, I cried out yet again to the Lord.  But this time, it wasn’t just a prayer.  It was a cry from the very pit of my soul, in such desperation that I didn’t even know what words to say.  With tears and pleading, I just looked up toward Heaven and cried, “Help!  Please help!”  Those were my only words, but there was more meaning behind those words than I have ever had in a detailed prayer.

The answer to that simple prayer came the very next day as my husband was searching on the computer for what could possibly be wrong.  God blessed me with wisdom, but He just happens to give it to me through my husband!  After entering my symptoms in a symptom checker, one of the diagnoses that came up was a magnesium deficiency.  I fit all the criteria, the heart pounding, the toe numbness, the muscle jerking and insomnia.  In looking further, the disease that I have inhibits absorption of vitamins and minerals, especially when taking some of the medicine I am on.  So my husband insisted that night we were going to a drug store to get some magnesium pills.  We crushed one up so it would digest better.  Then each night that week, I got just a little bit more sleep, until at the end of the week I was sleeping 8 hours, soundly!  And for the most part, I have been sleeping better since then than I have in years.  After all those months of suffering, God answered my very simple but very heart-felt prayer.

I am certain many of you have thought to yourselves that you were not strong enough to go through a trial such as the one you are going through.  Well, the truth could be that perhaps you were not weak enough.  Maybe you were relying too much on yourself and your own strength.  Perhaps God needed to make you so weak that you could not under any circumstances rely on your own strength and had to turn wholly to Him and rely on His power.

When you hear someone call out in desperation, “Please help!” you know they are in serious trouble.  If someone is drowning and you hear that cry for help, you know you have to act, and act now.  That plea is simple but powerful.  I have learned from my experience that sometimes God wants to reach down to our bare soul, when there is absolutely nothing left of ourselves and we have to absolutely rely on Him.  And wordy prayers aren’t going to be heard more than the sincere, guttural prayer from the heart.  Sometimes all you need to do is call out with a desperate “Please help!”  At times God has to bring you to the point where you have given up all of your human efforts.  You cannot depend on your own strength or others, and finally you turn everything over to Him in desperation, so you absolutely know in your heart that HE is the only one who can help you.  It is at these times of totally relying on God that we grow closer to Him.

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