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Confronting our Limitations

      by Jennifer Woodley

There is a place on the highway between Newcastle and Sydney that brings me undone. It is a wide, open space that descends down a windy, steep incline to the Mooney Mooney bridge over the Hawksbury River below. Six lanes of traffic weave through the man-made sandstone pass and the wind often howls through there swaying cars as they proceed at a frantic pace. In my mind it is an unwelcoming place, guaranteed to evoke panic and fear in me every time we journey to Sydney.

It is particularly alarming because I am usually not disturbed by much, and if that is the case, I can quickly settle myself in the loving presence of my Heavenly Father and trust Him to protect me. Not so with the descent to the Mooney Mooney bridge. On a recent trip to Sydney, the experience of traveling along this hazardous stretch of highway reduced me to a blubbering mess as I clung to the door handle for dear life, wishing I was anywhere but there. Fear gripped my heart, panic seized my mind and I simply could not talk or pray myself through this one. ‘Close your eyes honey,’ my husband said kindly as he drove, ‘and when it is over we will both open our eyes together.’ His humor did nothing to ease my anxiety.

If you think that God only leads us to quiet waters and still streams, think again. God also leads us to turbulent places, where He asks us to take courage and dive in. This turbulence causes us to confront our deepest, often dormant, issues. Take comfort, for everyone has limitations, vulnerabilities, fears, insecurities. They are there, but sometimes it takes a turbulent, tormenting event before they surface. And when exposed, they can catch us by surprise, in the most confronting ways. That’s okay. It’s important to recognize them, name them for what they are, put them out there to explore and then it is up to each of us to discern what place they will take in our lives.

When our weakness emerges, when the questions about our own limitations arise, when our self-confident foundations begin to crumble, what are we going to do about that? It is a good thing to be reminded of our human smallness and God’s divine greatness. When situations arise that expose our limitations, we can no longer depend upon ourselves. In our humanness, we will struggle to get ourselves through the turbulence that rocks us to the core. We can only, at this point of deepest need, abandon ourselves and embrace the One who sees us drowning in a sea of fear and anguish. 

We have been plunged by Divine Grace into a cauldron of questions and uncertainties that call us to confront who we really are. In this churning place, God is wooing us to a new level of growth, a shedding of the false self that is so self-assured and confident in our own person hood. Affronted by God, we discover that we are not quite so capable in our own strength after all. In fact, we see for the first time, that we are nothing without Him. One way or another, the false roles, identities, and illusions spill over the sides of our life and we are forced to stand in the chaos and confess that we truly need Him to lean upon, depend upon, hope upon.

Turbulent, tormenting experiences open our eyes offering us a clearer vision of who we really are, and who we are not. These are the self diminishing events in our lives that reveal that our greatness does not come by investing in ourselves, but by investing ourselves in our Heavenly Father. 

Jennifer lives on the Darling Downs, near Toowoomba, Queensland with her family. She enjoys encouraging others on their Christian journey. Contact  

      - Devotion from FaithWriters Great Multitude Christian Daily Devotional web site

 

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