At one time, we had a boat and greatly enjoyed heading out onto the Charles River to enjoy the sights of Boston from the water. Part of the fun included navigating through the sets of locks designed to adjust water levels from one area to another, thus making for a safe passage. We all found it fascinating to hold onto the ropes as we were either lifted up or down along with the other boats nestled in with us.
Watchman Nee reminded me of those days with this simple illustration:
“The thought came to me then of a river-boat that could not pass a deep narrows because of a boulder in the stream, jutting five feet or so up from the river bed. In my trial I had been asking the Lord to remove the boulder. Now within me the question arose: Would it be better to have the five-foot boulder out of the way, or to let Him raise the level of the water by five feet?”
(from Tables in the Wilderness by Watchman Nee, June 4)
As we navigate through hard days, we might ask this very same question.
Do we want the problem removed or the God-given strength to go through?
We probably will never be able explain the paradox of strength and weakness. We do know hidden in this mystery lies the profound truth that Christ’s power is demonstrated and revealed in the midst of our weakness.
“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10, NLT)
Our human weakness somehow highlights Christ’s strength at work in our lives by God’s grace. Each time we go through, rather than have the boulder removed, our lives declare the sufficiency of God’s grace in our lives to endure.
Much like the water level in the locks caused our boat to rise, God promises to cause us to rise as well:
- “But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak” (Isaiah 40:31, GNT).
- “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture”
(Malachi 4:2, NLT).
- “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).
- “You will keep in perfect peace, all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3, NLT).
May we go into the deeper water of His grace
so rise above every boulder in our path!