Editor's note:

My grace is suf­fi­cient for you, for my pow­er is made per­fect in weak­ness.” There­fore I will boast all the more glad­ly of my weak­ness­es, so that the pow­er of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am con­tent with weak­ness­es, insults, hard­ships, per­se­cu­tions, and calami­ties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. —2 Corinthi­ans 12:9 – 10

An always time­ly reflec­tion from Richard Fos­ter on the immense pow­er hid­den in the seem­ing weak­ness of those who remain faith­ful to God.

—Renovaré Team

Excerpt from The Challenge of the Disciplined Life

What does the pow­er that cre­ates look like? Think of Jere­mi­ah, who remained true to the word of God in the most dis­cour­ag­ing of cir­cum­stances. We call him the weep­ing prophet and for good rea­son. In a day when the reli­gious lead­ers were cater­ing their mes­sage to fit the pre­vail­ing polit­i­cal winds, Jere­mi­ah spoke the Dabar Yah­weh, the word of the Lord. That word was a dis­cour­ag­ing one at best, a word of defeat and not of vic­to­ry. And the peo­ple reject­ed Jere­mi­ah’s word of warn­ing and even per­se­cut­ed him. At one point he was thrown down a cis­tern and left to die. We are told that, Jere­mi­ah sank in the mire” (Jer. 38:6). In many way this sim­ple state­ment is a good descrip­tion of Jere­mi­ah’s entire min­istry. He had to watch his beloved coun­try over­thrown and rav­aged and his own peo­ple deport­ed as spoils of war.

But it was the teach­ing of Jere­mi­ah — the very teach­ing that the peo­ple had reject­ed — that enabled Judah to hold onto faith in Yah­weh through­out the long years of exile. You see, the peo­ple had ele­vat­ed their belief in the invin­ci­bil­i­ty of Zion into a car­di­nal doc­trine of their faith. And when Zion was destroyed, their whole belief sys­tem came crash­ing down. Had­n’t God promised them Jerusalem would not fall? Where was God when the Baby­lon­ian hordes rav­aged their land?

But Jere­mi­ah had insist­ed over and over that Zion’s invin­ci­bil­i­ty was pred­i­cat­ed upon obe­di­ence to the Mosa­ic Covenant, and because they had dis­obeyed the covenant, Zion would fall. God had not failed them by allow­ing Jerusalem to fall; they had failed God by dis­obey­ing his covenant. Final­ly, Jere­mi­ah spoke the words of hope and restora­tion and point­ed to a new covenant, a covenant writ­ten not on tablets of stone but on the fleshy tablets of their hearts. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my new law with­in them, and I will write it upon their hearts, and I will be their God, and they will be my peo­ple” (Jer. 31:33). It was Jere­mi­ah’s tenac­i­ty to the truth of Yah­weh that enabled the peo­ple of Judah to keep faith in God when all the con­fi­dent words of the false prophets were revealed as spurious. 

Jere­mi­ah reminds us that spir­i­tu­al pow­er some­times looks like weak­ness. Faith­ful­ness is more impor­tant than suc­cess, and the pow­er to remain faith­ful is a great trea­sure indeed. Per­haps Jere­mi­ah’s words to his ser­vant Baruch is good coun­sel for us today, And do you seek great things for your­self? Seek them not.” (Jer. 45:5).

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Excerpt­ed from Chap­ter 11 of The Chal­lenge of the Dis­ci­plined Life, Cre­ative Pow­er,” pp. 198 – 199.

Fos­ter, Richard J. 1985. The Chal­lenge of the Dis­ci­plined Life: Chris­t­ian Reflec­tions on Mon­ey, Sex, and Pow­er. New York: HarperOne. 

Image Cred­it: By Michelan­ge­lo — Web Gallery of Art: Image Info about art­work, Pub­lic Domain, https://​com​mons​.wiki​me​dia​.org/…