I have been sick this last week, well actually for a while now, battling something that has really affected my voice. I was told to make some pretty drastic changes in my diet and way of life concerning how much I use my voice. I am not supposed to whisper, yell, sing, or talk unless I have to. As well as a very restrictive diet.
If you know me I talk a good bit, and loudly for the most part. I am in sales so I talk all day at work. I have an almost 3 year old so enough said. I teach youth twice a week, and do a daily encouraging video. Y’all, that video requires no less than 10 takes, and sometimes up to 20. It takes a while to say what I want to, the way I want to say it much less when I have to just pray that my voice holds out long enough to get one done. I should seriously do a blooper segment for a good laugh. But I say all of that to say that it’s been a struggle for me to really accept what I need to do in order to get better. I can’t lose my voice.
I’ve had some down time this past week to really think about some things. I’ve been anxious about really taking the steps necessary to get better. It’s going to take some discipline on my part, but I have to do it. I’ve heard the enemy (Satan) loud and clear over this past week of reflection telling me why I can’t do it. Saying that I will never be able to make the changes needed, and that the areas that I need to change, are the ones I am weakest in. And for whatever reason, when you’re really sick, it’s so much easier to feel sorry for your self and agree with him. Thankfully I heard the voice of God speak to me this week as well. So what did he speak through the chaos going on in my heart and mind? “My grace is sufficient.” Oh me. Why is it so easy for me to forget that when I let my mind get away from me on a matter? His grace is sufficient for anything I will ever face, and I have to hear that truth over all the lies. I have to remember this knowing that he will help me do whatever it takes to get my voice back, because I use it so much in my work for him. I want to always be ready, willing, and able to work for the Lord at any given moment, and my voice is a big part of that.
The Lord reminded me of something else this week to bring his point home to me. (I’m a little hard headed so he has to be extra with me most of the time.) He reminded me of a time many years ago when I was watching The Passion of The Christ movie. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. I was alone, and it got to the part of Jesus praying in the garden. I began to weep knowing what he had just accepted to do. I watched as they then took him away as a criminal. How he was betrayed by those closest to him. How his disciples acted as if they didn’t even know him when he needed them the most. I watched as he was questioned, and ridiculed, and spit upon, and slapped. I watched as he was beaten mercilessly within an inch of his life. I watch his blood pour out as he took the stripes for our healing. I watched as he carried his cross, and then took his last steps to the hill where he would be killed as a criminal and humiliated. I watched as they nailed through his flesh, pulled is sockets out of joint, and fastened him to a cross to die an agonizing death. I couldn’t stand the thought of what he went through for someone like me. I continued to weep. It was in that moment that I began to pray. I said “Jesus, make me more like you.” (Meaning I wanted to be willing to do whatever it took to fulfill God’s will for me like Jesus was willing to do.) I then watched as he breathed the words “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” in response to the people who were a part of his being killed. I watched as he took on the weight of the sins of the world, of my sins. Then I watched as he died for you and for me. As I continued to weep, I prayed once more “Jesus, make me more like you.” This time I heard him answer. He said “Can you handle it, Leiah?”
I’ve thought about that question many times since then as I face things bigger than my self. When I face the things that hurt me in ways I never thought I could be hurt, and he calls me to show grace and mercy to the ones who caused it. I think about that question then. Can I handle what being like Jesus calls me to do? Can I handle showing grace and mercy to those who hurt me, and betray me in ways I couldn’t have imagined? Can I handle it when I have to return good for evil? Can I handle it when I have to sacrifice my wants and my hopes to chase after the things God has for me? Or how about when I have to open up my heart and share it with all people concerning Christ, knowing that not everyone is going to respond well. Knowing that some people will criticize, others will talk about, some will ignore what I am doing. What about when I step out to do what God has called me to and the people I thought would cheer me on are nowhere to be found? Or can I handle it when I am faithful, day after day, and year after year, and someone else gets the praise and applause? Can I handle it? Can I handle pouring out my heart and soul to people who will reject me? Can I handle being judged? Can I handle not being like everyone else? Can I handle the discipline I will need to get my voice back? Can I handle it? Oh at the times I have remembered his question to me from so long ago.
Now don’t get this wrong. I don’t believe that Jesus asked this question to discourage me in any way. In fact I believe he did it to encourage me. He asked me that question to get an answer. The answer is no. No, I can’t handle it. I can’t handle it alone at least. But I can handle ANY of it, and I mean ANY of it with Jesus working in and through me. There is nothing in this life that we could ever face that we can’t handle with Jesus.
I have walked through things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and that absolutely should have wiped me out, because I couldn’t handle them! I was not strong enough, but you better believe Jesus was. I found God’s grace to be sufficient for me, just like it was sufficient for Jesus in the garden, on the whipping post, and hanging on a cross on Calvary. It’s time for you grab hold of that. I want you to write down every giant you are facing in your life on a piece of paper, and then over the top of them all write in big bold letters HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT! (2nd Corinthians 12:9) Write this on your mirror, your wall, your computer screen, your phone case. Do whatever it is you need to do to get this in your mind and your heart, and begin to see it work in your life.
I don’t know who is going to read this. I don’t know what it is you are facing. I don’t know what God has called you to do. I don’t know how big or how hard the obstacles you will face will be. I don’t know what you won’t be able to handle that is coming your way, or currently in your house. I don’t know your sickness, your pain, your loss, or your disappointment. I do know Jesus though, and I know that his grace is sufficient for whatever you’re facing or will face or have faced. I know that if you let him, he will carry you through.