Real-Life Lessons in Weakness
For years, one of my favorite scriptural passages has come from James: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into this city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit,’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow” (James 4:13-14 MEV).
As with so many treasured ideas, saying we don’t know what will happen from day to day, and actually experiencing that as reality in one’s own life, is quite different.
That’s what I discovered shortly before Thanksgiving, when an accidental fall down the steps leading up to my home office left me with a huge black eye and a broken bone in my left hand.
Yet, as 2017 draws to a close, I have to admit that the aftermath of this mishap taught me some of the most notable lessons of the year.
I’ve never been wildly successful in monetary terms. Never written a bestseller, appeared on national TV, or been the keynote speaker at conferences attended by thousands impressed by my curriculum vitae (I never had a vitae, just a resume).
Yet, if nothing else, I could work hard. Meeting deadlines and balancing a slew of ongoing projects brought considerable stress, but somehow it always got done.
Then, wham! I found myself so weak that after two hours at my desk I had to go back to bed. As concerned as I had been over a pre-Thanksgiving slowdown in work, I suddenly found myself glad that I didn’t have many deadlines at hand.
During the week of Thanksgiving I came face to face with the reality of my powerlessness and dependence on God to provide for our needs.
In the past I liked to proclaim that I do look to Him to provide, when in reality I often trusted more in my own efforts.
Now, with a temporary brace literally forcing me to become a one-handed typist and serious limitations on what I could do, I had to put a nice-sounding theory into practical action.
After the overwhelming tiredness passed, a lighter, more flexible wrist brace enabled me to become a 1.5-handed typist. Yet I still struggled to overcome mental lapses and keep up with everything.
Three weeks after the accident, I found myself waking up sore and tired, and having to decline invitations to various events because I didn’t have the strength to attend.
Yet in the midst of this, I saw God do some amazing things, such as bringing in new retainers for 2018 and providing income in unexpected ways.
The most remarkable incident took place in early December. On a Saturday afternoon, I saw a job lead for a ghostwriter through LinkedIn’s ProFinder.
With most of these leads I can’t follow up. That’s because after my free trial to the upgraded option expired, I could still see the leads, but couldn’t enter a bid.
However, this one included the man’s website, where I found his email address and phone number.
The Year Ahead
On the following Monday morning, I drafted up a short note explaining my background and telling him to call if he wanted to discuss this further.
Thirty minutes later, he called and asked, “How did you know I needed a ghostwriter?”
After I explained the process of learning about his book and what it entailed, he replied, “I’ve never posted anything on LinkedIn. . . . That’s how I know God sent you to me.”
I can’t explain how this happened. But as we head into 2018, it is indeed evidence that trusting in God will make it a much better year than if I try to go through it without Him.