I have reached the age at which it is hard to tell the difference between a Holy Ghost rush and a hot flash. It wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't come to rely on body temperature as a spiritual thermostat to tell me when the anointing had hit. But now I just have to move out in faith, trusting that God is the initiator even when I don't feel a thing—or when what I'm feeling could be the result of a hormone imbalance rather than the prompting of His Spirit!
This season has brought other physical changes, too—a tiredness I can't seem to shake, wrinkles, sagging skin, body parts that don't want to get in shape no matter how much I do to encourage the process. Perhaps worst of all is the lack of desire to extend myself beyond the minimum requirements for sustaining life. If an activity isn't going to satisfy a crucial need, it isn't worth the effort.
This applies to spiritual pursuits as well. All the passion I once had for fulfilling God's purposes went out the window, I guess, along with good muscle tone and my store of progesterone. It's not that I don't want to be obedient; it's just that I don't want to expend the energy.
But I am learning that in spite of outward indications to the contrary, I am in the perfect condition to carry out God's plans. How is that possible? Because instead of relying on the things that used to keep me going—my own zeal, ambition and commitment to His cause—I am relying on God to compel and sustain me. His Word says that He works in us "both to WILL and to DO for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13, NKJV), so I know I can trust Him to get me moving in the right direction when He wants to use me-in spite of my weakness.
I also know I can trust Him to turn my weakness into strength. Well-known inspirational writer Catherine Marshall discovered this truth during a difficult season in her own life. Her husband, Lenny LeSourd, wrote that it was the central message of her book "Light in My Darkest Night" and summarized the truth this way: "If we will let Him, the Lord will help us grow strong precisely in the weak places themselves."
It's certainly not a new revelation. The apostle Paul wrote much the same thing in his second letter to the Corinthians. Referring to the "thorn in the flesh" that he says was given to him "lest [he] be exalted above measure," he declared: "I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness'" (2 Cor. 12:9).
To Paul, the exchange God offered him-His strength for Paul's weakness-was worth the discomfort the "thorn" caused. "Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities," he wrote, "that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (vv. 9-10).
Like Catherine Marshall and the apostle Paul, all of us have areas of weakness, no matter how capable we think we are. Yours might be a physical weakness, as mine is right now, or it might be a different form of handicap. Whatever it is, rejoice in it! Praise God for it! For it is in that weak place that God will prove Himself strong on your behalf. And when He does, the credit-and the glory-for whatever fruit is borne as a result will be all His.