The Power of Powerlessness

I seem to be talking about power a lot, first with vulnerability, now with powerlessness. You’ll have to forgive me for the lack of originality 😉 I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a contradictory title.

A few Sundays ago, my pastor said,

“We should never feel more powerless than when we’re preaching the Gospel.”

The thought struck me with considerable force as I looked back on the times I’d been on a spiritual high–typically after I’d finished a speech on God’s Silence or on how God uses failures as stepping stones or when I decided to place God first, no matter the cost.

I felt in awe, flowing with peace, and completely powerless–but not how we typically think of powerlessness. This powerlessness didn’t make me despair. It made me feel so overwhelmed by God’s power and that He would choose someone like me to convey such beautiful messages. What an amazing, incredible responsibility. It made me feel like God knew this would happen and the final outcome, like He had a plan, and during those times, trusting in Him was a delight. The recognition of my own powerless was, strangely enough, empowering.

When people think of examples of great faith, they think of martyrs speaking up in hostile crowds or refusing to verbally forsake God. But remaining at rest takes faith too. It may seem backwards, like faith can’t be passive, but I’ve found remaining at rest isn’t passive; it’s an active battle. Stress and doubts come when we forget we’ve given everything to God. I often find that writer’s block stems from my doubts in God. I get writer’s block when I’m overwhelmed, not at God’s power, but at the sheer length of the to-do list I have to complete. As I’ve grown older, God keeps reminding me that if He wants me to go to a certain college or publish a particular manuscript, then He’s got it covered. And if it’s not happening on my timetable, that’s okay. His timing and His plans are perfect. This is why when I have faith in God, it gives me such an overwhelming sense of peace.

All we have to do to remain at peace is to remember just how powerless we are.

If you use your stress as a barometer, how much faith are you having in God right now? What overwhelming concerns are consuming you? What aspects in your life are you not trusting God to take care of? When have you felt a sense of peace or the power of powerlessness?

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