Grace in Our Weakness
by Kathi Pelton


Our family just returned from the most wonderful vacation to Disneyland. We were given this "all-expenses paid" vacation as a gift by a precious couple that wanted to bless our daughter on her 16th birthday. We have had a few years of really tough times and this was a much needed get-a-way for us all. From the moment we arrived until the moment that we left...it was a magical time. The hotel was like paradise, the experiences were enchanting, and the time together was unforgettable.

One of the benefits that we experienced during our five days in Disneyland was that we didn't have to wait in the long lines (and believe me there were some two-hour waits). I have a heel condition that prevents me from walking long distances or for long lengths of time without harming the condition further. Therefore, though I can walk perfectly fine in a normal setting, I was given a wheelchair. Along with the wheelchair came an access pass to go to the front of the lines for our entire family.

Walt Disney and Jesus

As our family was given access to the front of the lines in the "Magic Kingdom," I thought about how Jesus has looked upon our "disabilities" (as imperfect men and women), and through His death on the Cross and resurrection from the grave, He too has given us access to His Kingdom. Walt Disney and Jesus have something in common-grace for our weaknesses. Just as our family was given grace for the weakness in my heels, the same is true for God's family-we are given grace for our weaknesses. Actually, it is in our weaknesses that His strength is made manifest in our lives.

"But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

"So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).-2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (Amplified Bible)

Isn't this amazing! What hope we have as people that in that very place where our imperfections meet His perfection-strength and power come upon us. This is why we sing about "Amazing Grace" because this grace that God gives to His children is truly amazing. Just as in Disneyland, where your greatest infirmity becomes the favor to go to the front of the line, the same is true with Jesus-our greatest weakness is an invitation for His strength and power to come upon us. There is a divine strength that comes upon us in the midst of the weakest areas of our human strength.

The Spirit Helps Us

Both my husband and I wish we could say that our journey through these past three years of trials has been without falterings, but probably like most of you who have walked through wilderness years, we have faltered at times. Many days are full of hope and faith in all the promises that He has given us, but then there are days that we literally need that "divine strength" to even put one foot in front of the other. Those are the days that we literally must be carried by God to make it to the next day. I don't know about you, but I really feel terrible during those moments. Even when I think of all that Christ has done for me, I still have times where I find no human strength within me to hope or have faith that His promises will come to pass; this grieves me.

But then I remember the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:30, "If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness."

Paul understood weakness and made claim to be the weakest of all the men he knew. Though I am not convinced that I am the weakest person I know, I do know that my God is perfect in strength and power, and in those moments of my greatest weakness He will be seen. Our precious Holy Spirit comes and helps us, not condemning us, but helping us in times of great weakness.

"So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.

"And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God's will.

"We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose."-Romans 8:26-28 (Amplified Bible)

Let's look at verse 26 once again: "So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance."

In those "dark nights of the soul" when you cannot find human strength to have hope or faith, the Holy Spirit goes on our behalf and pleads for what we truly need. It would seem that the most effective prayers are presented to the Father when we are at our weakest because it is then that the Spirit Himself makes prayers and supplications on our behalf. In my experience these "crisis moments" seem to be the catalyst for major breakthroughs in my life. Maybe it is because I've stopped depending upon my strength and wisdom and have completely surrendered to the Spirit's help to carry me through.

The Mind of the Spirit

I am much more of a "heart" person than a "mind" person. But, my husband will first go to his mind in processing information and situations. Though he has a heart that is huge, his first instinct is to go to "what is reasonable." This has been difficult for him as the Lord has called us all to walk according to the Spirit and yet the mind of the Spirit is often foolishness to the mind of man. He always finds his way to the truth of the Spirit, but it is much more of a wrestle for him than for me. Although, when he gets there, he is convinced and unmovable.

My problem is that if I entertain my mind for a moment it is like falling into a black hole of hopelessness. My husband will only go into the wrestle of logic verses what the Spirit is saying, but if I go there it is as if all my strength is drained from me and there's not even human logic in it any longer.

If you are like me, then be encouraged by verse 27 in Romans 8, "And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God's will."

God knows my heart (and yours), but He also knows the mind of the Spirit, which is in absolute alignment with the will of God. He will answer the intercession of the mind of the Spirit! So, whether you are a person who first processes with your heart or one who first processes with your mind, do not fear because the Father searches the heart of men and answers the intercession of the Spirit. No matter where our minds take us (to a wrestle or into a black hole of despair), the mind of the Spirit is pleading truth on our behalf and His intercession is aligning us with the perfect will of God.

Do we need our minds renewed? Yes! But our minds are to be renewed with the truth that the mind of the Spirit knows what we need, and then in our weakness we submit to His groaning, knowing that the will of God will be accomplished. It's far more about surrender and dependency then it is about knowing the right thing to do or to pray. Dependency upon the Holy Spirit to intercede on our behalf is key to victory.

Jesus the High Priest

"Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have ahigh priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."-Hebrews 4:14-16

If you need grace to help you through this time pray this prayer with me: Jesus, You are my High Priest and You sympathize with my weaknesses. Although You have been tempted in every way, You are without sin. I come before Your throne of grace right now to receive mercy and grace. Help me now in all that I need. Cleanse me from my sins, purify my heart, and I now surrender to the help of the Holy Spirit to intercede on my behalf so that Your perfect will can be accomplished in my life.

Thank You for the mind of the Spirit and I ask for divine strength to carry me through these days and times of trials. In my weakness may the strength and power of Your Spirit be made manifest in me. Be glorified through my life, through this time in my life, even through my weaknesses. I surrender to You. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.