“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong, we are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so!”
This is just a simple children’s song, one that we all know, but it sends an important message – one that has proved very helpful in the past few weeks, especially as exhaustion sets in and during this season of Lent.
About this time of year NET teams are well out of the “honeymoon” stage, and team life and ministry start to become a lot more difficult. Not that we don’t know what we are doing (let me tell you that we are experts at facilitating retreats, mingling with host families and investing with one another). However, the reason these activities which make up most of our life on the road become difficult is because we are tired. Tired in both mind and body, reminding us that we are weak, and GOD is strong! We are reminded over and over again that Jesus is the strong one and we are very, very weak. But that cool thing is that God works in and though us despite our weakness. In fact, when we are at out weakest, meaning we realize how we can do nothing without Christ’s help, that is when we become the strongest.
“Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutors, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong,” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).
When we acknowledge our weakness, and get out of the way, that is when God can start doing amazing things with us. Our exhaustion in all aspects of life, whether physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, is the perfect time for God to come in and take control. It is up to us to get out of the way, and let God do His thing! I think I can speak for everyone when I say that some of our best retreats have been when we all felt like we had reached the last straw. We recognize our littleness and give retreats completely to God, and it is beautiful what can happen when God has the front seat.
During this season of Lent we see even more clearly how weak and little we truly are. When we are spending more time praying, fasting and giving alms, thus becoming holier, temptation is ever more prevalent. It is when we are striving so hard to overcome sin in our life that the devil likes to strike. This was a message that was given to us and a huge number of retreatants on a particularly long retreat in the Diocese of Dallas. It was a good reminder for us to turn everything over to Christ, because we can’t do anything good without Him. Knowing that temptation is going to happen, we can turn to Jesus for the strength to overcome it.
Jesus was not free from temptation himself; after 40 days in the desert he was tempted by the devil, and three times he used scripture to expose the lies of the Devil. Good thing we as a team are working on memorizing scripture to help us both in our personal spiritual lives and also in ministry. Lent is a perfect time to hide the word of God in our hearts!
As we continue heading south and growing in holiness during this season of Lent, we know without a doubt that Jesus loves us. We can be sure of his great love because he tells us so in scared scripture, which he has given to us as a gift to help combat temptation. We have also seen first hand how small and weak we truly are, and how we need to remove ourselves, and let God be in control, and that in our weakness, Christ makes us strong.