Giving Thanks for Weakness
Next week millions will gather around their Thanksgiving tables to say thanks before diving in to mounds of turkey, dressing and all the trimmings—or head to the nearest buffet, where someone else can handle the preparations.
My wife and I will enjoy celebrating the holiday with my brother and his wife prior to a Black Friday visit to two nephews and their families.
As joyous as these family reunions are, I will be most grateful for feeling normal again after many months of tough sledding this year.
My struggles originated with a fall down the stairs nearly a year ago that sent me to the emergency room (twice) and ultimately to a neurologist and six weeks of concussion therapy.
The first four months after my accident were full of bouts with tiredness, mental confusion, and mystery—until a doctor at the therapy clinic explained that no two concussions are alike. Some resolve in a matter of weeks, and others go on for months.
Mine appeared to be in the latter category. It wasn’t until mid-August that I felt “normal” again, only to experience a relapse a month later. The last two weeks of September I again struggled with fatigue.
In their own way, the struggles with post-concussive syndrome were as tough as the double bypass surgery I underwent in early 2008, and what followed.
I thought nothing could be as painful as getting cut open, until I injured my back five years later. After months of agony, I ended up in physical therapy.
Yet in my newly-weakened state this year, I learned in a deeper way that I need to trust in God more than my own efforts and hard work.
In the weeks after the accident, I was so weak that I could barely keep up with what I had to do. Even after the worst passed, I still had to acknowledge my limits.
In this unfamiliar territory, I also found opportunities to rejoice in what God can do despite my weaknesses.
As an example, I edited a book the first three months of the year even though I was battling a mental fog much of that time.
At the mid-point of 2018, I did a quick check of revenue records and discovered that my income had risen 10 percent over the first half of 2017.
I could only marvel at both God’s provision of unexpected projects and the ability (well, His ability) to handle them.
The new video series includes comments by Paul David Tripp. Had I not recognized the name, I might never have read the recent email with an excerpt from his new book, Suffering.
The volume originated with Tripp’s 2014 admission to the hospital for “minor” surgery. What followed was a journey with pain and suffering for which he felt unprepared.
“I know what that feels like,” I thought as I read.
Tripp talked about how, because he didn’t have the power or control to make Mr. Hardship leave, he ran to the place where always finds wisdom, hope and rest of heart: the gospel of Christ.
As he dove into the gospel, he gained new insights into his own pride and God’s sovereignty.
While my journey wasn’t identical to Tripp’s—and apparently not nearly as long—his message resonated with me.
As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving of 2018, I can rejoice over being weaker than a year ago, and more aware of God’s presence.