For what seemed like the hundredth time, E.T., the movie about a cute little alien was playing on television. Still uncertain about E.T., Elliot tells his brother to swear his most excellent oath that he had “absolute power” so he and Michael could maintain control of E.T. It becomes obvious by the mischief and mayhem that follows neither Elliot or Michael have any power at all.
That’s a life lesson for all of us. We think we have power. We say things like, “I got this” to let everyone now that we don’t need help. God knows our tendency to try to do things on our own, in our own way, in our own power. We thank God for his assistance, but we really believe we’ve accomplished things all on our own. That’s a dangerous place to be, and in reality, nothing is further from the truth.
In Judges 7, Gideon’s plan was to bring the full force of his troops to assure the enemy’s defeat, a power play for Israel. God shows up with a totally different battle plan than Gideon intended. He explains that going into battle with too many people would let people believe that the battle was won purely through the army’s strength. God instructs Gideon to cut his forces significantly so it would be clear that it was God’s victory.
We want absolute power. We want to be in control, and we are self-assured in our abilities. However, Jesus uses the circumstances of our lives to show us that it’s only in His power that we achieve His highest and best. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul describes this painful process. He says that he was given a thorn in the flesh to stop him from being conceited because he’d received such great revelations from the Lord. When Paul petitioned the Lord to remove the thing that troubled him, the response was, “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (vs. 9). I’m certain that this wasn’t the answer Paul was asking for because he asked three times.
Through his weakness, Paul managed to preach, teach, and win souls for Christ until the day he died. In your weakness, let Christ be your source of power.