He did not know it, but my brother in some of his last spoken words on this earth, taught me one of the biggest lessons I have learned in my faith journey. His words and his actions gave me a glimpse into the character that God is calling me to step into. It is a weighty calling.
It is a calling to step up and recognize first who I am and what I have as a child of God. Secondly, it is a calling to recognize who I am and what I have in my sin nature as a human on this earth.
These two realities live in paradox. But when the reality of my humanness is submitted to the authority of my higher calling, and adoption as a daughter of the highest King, beautiful encounters begin to happen.
It is a calling to allow God to use my lack for His glory.
My brother displayed the soulfulness of this paradox through his words and actions. Zach was at this point so weak he could not stand up on his own. He could not hold up his head. He could not hold his eyes open. His humanness, his earthly body was failing. And it was in this moment, as his earthly body began to fade away, that God’s spirit alive in him took over and enacted perfectly this verse before my eyes.
At this point in his life he had nothing he could give us that would take away our sadness or our heartache. He had nothing to give yet he gave us everything when he prayed with heartfelt words. He showered us with spiritual riches. Peace. Comfort. Strength. Joy.
He was afraid and his body endured such pain, yet he shared joy through jokes and laughter. Out of his lack of human strength, his spiritual strength and faith shined through and fed our souls in a profound and loving way.
Kneeling at the bedside with tears streaming down my face, listening to the prayers of thanksgiving prayed over me, I witnessed one, ailing and sickly, who had nothing left, but gave anyway.
When I have nothing left to give, give anyway.
When I don’t have the words to pray, pray anyway.
When I am hurting, sing praises anyway.
When I feel stuck, take one step anyway.
When I can’t hold on much longer, hang on anyway.
When I don’t want to be still, sit still anyway.
When I don’t have love to give, love anyway.
He was teaching me that in giving from my lack the glory of God is revealed. I saw, heard and bore witness to the Glory of God in those moments of total human weakness. God’s power, love, grace and mercy were on display through the prayers, though the jokes, through holding hands, and through the “I love you’s”.
When I give out of our poverty, God receives the glory. Poverty is “the state of being inferior in quality or insufficient in amount.” As a human I am inferior and insufficient without God. But with God, and with the holy spirit at work within me, my inferiority and insufficiency simply doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter how insufficient or inferior I am or feel I am, because as a believer in Christ Jesus I just must own the fact that his spirit is alive and well and working within me. As a believer, my inefficiencies are made sufficient. As a believer my inferiority is replaced by his perfection. As a believer my lack is made complete in Him.
He did not know it, but God used Him as a vessel to teach me, to teach us, a lesson. When we give out of our own ability or resource banks it’s nice, kind and we receive the glory. But when we allow God to take us to the point when we can give out of the areas we are depleted in; he received the glory.
What areas of your life are you overwhelmed and feel depleted? Could it be that God is allowing this depletion to occur to draw your eyes toward him? Is there someone around you who could use encouragement, love, joy or comfort in an area you on your own simply do not have to give? When you feel empty handed, are you allowing God to fill the emptiness with himself?
You may not know it, as I am certain Zach did not know it, but God can use you to be a demonstration of his love when you sing praises when you are hurting, or love when you feel like you have nothing left to give. Are you willing to let God use you as his vessel in this soulful and paradoxical way to display his Glory and Goodness on the earth?