Ephesians 3:16

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power
through his Spirit in your inner being.
Ephesians 3:16
We knew it was going to be a big surgery. Our nineteen-year-old son was in need of a specialized surgeon to remove a pancreatic tumor, and we had eventually found that doctor in Baltimore, at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The staff had warned us that the surgery would last at least eight hours, followed by a stay in the ICU and two weeks in the hospital. This surgery was one of the many things that had worried me in the two years following his original diagnosis. He was just beginning college, and we anticipated the recovery would be counted in months not weeks. But friends and family had prayed, we prayed, and then we traveled, but not really knowing what to expect.

After we kissed and hugged him and watched the nurse roll him off to surgery, we found a cozy corner in the waiting room. We’d lugged numerous bags of anything we could think of to the hospital, in hopes of keeping our minds and hearts busy while we waited. It should have been hours of anxiety and worry, negative thoughts, and really nervous stomachs. But God showed up. As we read, rested, and snacked we kept commenting that we felt no fear, no apprehension, and no nervousness. Peace was abundant. It was wonderfully weird. Never before had it been so clear to us that the Holy Spirit was giving us unexplainable strength.

Paul knew that the believers in Ephesus would need strengthening. Not physical strength, but the kind that would live way down deep in their souls. Christianity in the first century was not for the fainthearted. Paul loved these believing friends, and he was reminding them that God was enough for them. He had given them the gift of the Holy Spirit and he had taken residence in their feeble hearts.

We are feeble, weak, and vulnerable too. Normal pressures abound, and now we feel even more pressure as we live in unprecedented times. We need strength to stay connected with others when it feels easier to crawl under the blanket or watch endless seasons of a show. Our hearts sometimes lack hope when the networks focus on the multitude of problems in our world. We lack energy after a full day of homeschooling kids whose lives have also been disrupted. It’s difficult to love others well when so much of life has been rearranged, postponed, or canceled. People we love are sick and we worry about those who aren’t. Disappointment abounds. We are sad, confused, and sometimes hopeless.

But God still shows up. Even Covid has not surprised him. He knew we’d need the Holy Spirit in times like these. When we feel weak, vulnerable, fearful or full of anxiety, we must pray. The Holy Spirit is near, and he will give us strength.
Thoughts for reflection:

  1. Think about a time when you felt unexplainable peace even in the midst of extremely trying times.
  2. Thank God that he doesn’t leave us alone when we are walking through unexpected and discouraging seasons.
Linda Miller | Ministry Development 

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