The search for power and control is the way of this world. This is life on earth—though I pray it were not so. We can only work hard and we do what we can. We can only try hard to make our own way and prove we can handle anything that comes our way. But then, suddenly, we find ourselves flat on our back wondering what happened. We have “fallen and cannot get up.” We are powerless.
Though the world looks at these times of being powerless as the ultimate failure, Scripture sees it as an opportunity to receive a blessing from God. This is the experience of the incredible paradox of the “opposites” of our belief: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Many of the Beatitudes qualify as opposites!) Or St. Paul: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” It doesn’t seem like what is said makes any sense…but it does—when you consider that through hardship grace may appear.
In moments of hardship, you may feel humiliated, humbled by your powerlessness in a given situation: a debilitating illness for you or a loved one; a failed marriage; a rage that separates a relationship; a job loss—the list is long, and can feel endless. As wrong and unfair as it may appear, you may actually be in the best situation of your life to experience the grace of God. Though it seems hopeless and it is hard to believe, you can recover if you will allow God to come to you in your powerless state and do what only He can do. Because God the Father promises us that His gracious favor is all we need—His power works best in our weakness.
Tomorrow is Monday. (If you are reading this on Sunday….) Chances are good that today or tomorrow or the next day or next week you will find yourself faced with a situation that you cannot control. It may be a business deal, it may be a relationship, it may be a family crisis or a health crisis. You may be totally and absolutely powerless to fix it, change it, undo it, or improve it. It may be the result of your own actions—or it may simply be the way of the world. Nevertheless, you may find yourself to be powerless and humbled by your trouble. This is when grace may enter in, this is when we receive what we need—although maybe not what we want. The Book of Sirach today reminds us that God hears our prayers. St. Paul tells us that we are rescued by God and saved for heaven. As we are all subject to those moments that will bring us down—Jesus reminds us today to be humble—because that way, you have less distance to fall. Food for thought, prayer and action!