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 Feeling Fragile

   This summer I have the pleasure of watching our two peahens taking care of their new hatchlings. The peacock walks with them often, watching these tiny chirping infants tripping through the grass, with interest. The mothers are on duty every minute of every day and night.

   The peachicks have been growing, these first twelve days of life. First their legs began to grow long, then their necks. Soon they won't fit beneath their mother's feathers at night, to hide from predators. Now their flight feathers are growing long, because they are learning to fly high into the tree at night with their mothers, to sleep out of danger. We live in the forest, and the mothers are well aware that dangers lurk nearby in the night.

   Many times a day, the babies follow their mothers to our deck for a snack, and I get to watch them up close. I see these tiny ones copying their mothers in every thing they do. They take a bite where their mothers do, preen when their mothers do, constantly glance around for danger, as their mothers do. I see them stretch those quickly growing wings in the sun. They sit at their mothers' feet, but never sleep unless their mothers lie down. They pop right up when she takes a step. But at the same time, I often see them tottering on their feet - struggling to keep their balance. When they get too tired, the mother lowers herself to the ground, spreads her wings over her young, and lets them sleep. Isn't our Heavenly Father vastly more tender toward His children, than a bird is?

   We human beings aren't always strong either, no matter what our age. We have much to do every day, just to live. We might usually keep up, but there are always times when we falter. We all have physical work, mental work, and stress in all areas. We all know the feeling of extreme weariness, for one reason or another; becoming weak on our feet, or emotionally unsteady.

   Certain things cause me to feel fragile, like emotional stress, or physical pain. A great disappointment is also hard to endure. One of the things the enemy spends much time doing, is attempting to cause me to lose emotional stamina. If he can jerk the rug out from beneath me, so to speak, the next thing he's quick to do is to tempt me to become discouraged, because of my weakness. He and his demons, the workers of iniquity, never cease to carry out his evil, until we turn on them, and cast them away, in Christ Jesus' name. In the Bible, God gives words to deal with them.

* Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping. Psa. 6:8

   After a particularly stressful experience, I crawl into bed with a book, or, if I am too shaken, I just pull the covers over my head for a while, and pray. It is theraputic to be gentle with myself, and rest when I need to, at times of physical or emotional oppression. Resting helps, no matter what the problem is.

* Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me. Psa. 6:2a

   The arthritis in my hands has been acting up again lately. Lifting something heavy, or banging my hand into something, sets it back a long ways. Just yesterday, my right hand was injured again, and every motion feels like a knife stabbing through it. It hurt to dress, to brush my hair, to use a spoon, to turn a page, to type. I lay down in the early afternoon feeling very discouraged. It is so frustrating not to be able to do what I need or want to do. I am not a patient patient. Tears were close to the surface, and I remembered how often I have retreated to my bed in one kind of weakness or another, in my life.

   But today it occurred to me that since God allows seasons of weakness, I can know He has a good reason for that too. I began to ask God how He could use even my frailty, my fragility, to His glory. If He could, it would make it worth while to endure it.

* My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor. 12:9b

   One of God's strengths - giving strength to us, is made perfect in our weakness. For only when we are broken down and frail, do we find ourselves in need of His strength. And that is when He looks upon us with infinite mercy, and blesses us with it. He uses times like those, to bring us closer to Him.

   Another important thing for me to remember, is if others see me trusting in God's mercy during low times, God's glory can be shown through my attitude. When I grumble and groan, what kind of witness is that?

   There is value in weakness; value in pain, as unlikely as that seems. I need to change my attitude toward my times of weakness. What a concept - that I should glory in my infirmities, so Christ's power will be needed. Yes, even these times I have despised and resented, can be used to enrich my relationship with Christ. When I see them that way, at last, value in the pain can be recognized.

   Though my mother taught me 2 Cor. 12:9 when I was a little girl, I never connected it with real life. I have never been grateful for times of exhaustion, stress, or pain. But if I was always strong, never tired, never stressed or in pain, would I have need of Christ's strength? Would I need His support, or His power?

   Even these small trials then, can be blessings. God's grace is sufficient; His strength substantial; His power abundant and more than able to fulfill any need we might have. When we weaken, and grow weary, He tenderly covers us with His majestic wings of mercy, and shelters us while we rest. My new goal is to glory most gladly in my infirmities, so Christ's power may be seen by others; may be given me, and raise me up again.

2005 Rosemary Gwaltney