“For When I Am Weak Then I Am Strong.” I read these words written by the Apostle Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians when I was at my weakest. I had suffered a severely broken leg, had surgery and was lying in a hospital bed. I was physically, emotionally and spiritually weak. I was confused and I did not understand why God had allowed this to happen. Yes. I raised my fist at heaven and cried, “why Lord?” I know I am not the first to do so and I won’t be the last. Nevertheless, blaming God was wrong. Intellectually, I knew that God is bigger and stronger than any of us can even fathom. We are told that God is in heaven and he does what pleases Him (Psalm 115:3, 135:6). Nothing happens outside of his knowledge or control. Whatever He allows into our lives, He does lovingly and for our full and final good, even if it is painful or not pleasant (Hebrews 12:11).
God knew the needs of my body, my soul and my spirit. Over the next few days and weeks, He began to heal my body. Most of all, He began to reveal His plan to me. I was weak but God never seemed so strong. As He revealed to me, I too became spiritually stronger. He began to reveal to me, ever so slowly, what He wanted me to do.
This is not the story of my broken leg. My leg trauma suddenly became the “back story,” as journalists would call it. It is only important for background and to help put the main story, the so-called “headline story,” in context. In this case, the headline story is God had a plan. That story is far more important than my broken leg. It is a testimony of God’s expectations for me. It is testimony of His infinite wisdom, power and His great love. My broken leg was merely the catalyst for all that would follow.
One of my favorite Gospel songs is, “Don’t Worry About Tomorrow – I’m Already There.“ I sang those words to myself over and over and constantly thought about their meaning. God, in his infinite knowledge, wisdom, power and love already knew what was going to happen that beautiful Sunday morning and beyond. He had a plan and He knew the outcome long before I was injured.
So why didn’t he stop it from happening? Why didn’t he just warn me I was going to fall? Once I fell, why in His infinite power did He not heal me instantly or at least more quickly? I understand now that those were shallow and selfish questions on my part. They were all about me and not about God’s infinite power and His great love; not only for me but more importantly His love for all of humankind.
If He had warned me, I almost certainly would have been more alert and perhaps prevented the fall from even happening. Then nothing more would have happened. End of story. Not only would it have been the end of the immediate story of my broken leg, but more importantly there would be nothing more worth sharing with others. No inspiration, no testimony of God’s great love and most of all, God’s plan may not have been revealed to me.
Today I clearly understand that not knowing God’s plan would have been far more tragic and ultimately more painful than my broken leg. Indeed, no warning or no instant healing was not cruel. Instead it was His will. It was His way of sending me off on a life-changing journey of faith, humility, service to Him and ministry to others. It was His way of showing his great love.
God revealed His plan to me over a period of weeks. It was not instant. He revealed it in “bite size pieces.” He knew that as a child of His and with a child-like mind, I would not and could not, comprehend His glorious plan all at once. So many of the important details may have been lost in the “noise” of just my broken leg. Each piece needed time to marinate within me before He revealed the next piece. Eventually, all the bite size pieces came together as a whole; a unified plan. God’s plan.
Among many things He reinforced His life-plan for me. As a sidebar, several months earlier after my retirement from a four-decade business career, I had prayed for guidance about God’s will for me the rest of my earthly life. He told me then - not in words, per se – but rather He spoke to my heart in such a way that His message could not possibly be misunderstood, that He wanted me to use the gifts He had already given me. He wanted me to “write, teach, preach and worship Him in song.” He wanted me to share His will for me with others through those means and through frequent and personal testimony. He wanted me to share the story of His mercy and great love as He revealed it to me. He wanted me to praise Him through song and encourage others to do the same thing. Witness this article and numerous other writings. Witness my service on my churches praise team, witness my occasional sermon messages and my bible study leadership. The words “All Things for the Glory of God” have become permanently etched in my psyche.
Neil MacDonald is a Pastor and author. In his book, The Life God Blesses, he writes about methods God uses to bring blessings to His servants. In one chapter, he coined the term “disruptive moments.” He defined the term to mean unanticipated and unwanted events that we would usually choose to avoid if possible but which eventually lead to great blessings. My broken leg was such a disruptive moment. It was an unwanted and unanticipated event which launched my journey of faith, understanding and humility. It has resulted in great joy. Remember, dear readers, God always, always, always has a plan. Let His will be done. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)