My weakness builds my character. Paul says in Romans 5:3, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character.” Paul is saying that my weakness makes my character stronger. Weakness builds my character because my failures and my problems knock the pride out from under me. The key ingredient in Christ-like character is humility.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, Paul says that Satan’s angel did his best to get him down but what he really did was push him to his knees. No danger of walking around high and mighty. He said Satan tried to destroy him with a problem but actually helped Paul depend upon God so he could be filled with His power. Satan tried to ruin him and take him out of the game, but really all he did was knock him to his knees.
Have you ever been knocked to your knees in life? Everything is going smoothly and then you get that phone call, and it knocks you to your knees. We are only one phone call from our knees, every one of us. Maybe you’ve had this unbroken string of successes in your life and you are starting to believe your own press clippings, and then, all of a sudden you hit a major failure and you’re knocked to your knees and fall flat on your face.
Several years ago I was knocked to my knees when I was preaching. While delivering the message, the room began to spin, and I started getting dizzy. I wasn’t sure what had caused my conditioned and guessed it was a lingering result of the flu I had experienced a couple of weeks prior. But then, the next week when I got up to preach, I started feeling that way again. Week after week I would experience the same thing. I would begin to panic, feel a little dizzy, my heart would start to race and I would ask the Lord to get me through. Each week, He helped me push through.
As I look back on it, I think God used that time in my life so powerfully to help me depend upon Him. It was during that time, when I would pray backstage beforehand, “Lord really preach through me. I need you to do this through me. Preach a great message through me. But also, Lord, help me stay standing. Lord, just get me through.”
Over the next few weeks and months it kind of dissipated and wasn’t happening in the church service. God was helping me push through. But then, all of a sudden, it started happening at other times. I would wake up in the middle of the night and my hands would be sweaty and the room would be spinning around. My heart would be racing, I would feel panicky and I began to wonder what was really going on with me.
Finally, I called a dear friend who is a Christian counselor and doctor. I started Christian counseling, learned what anxiety attacks are and began getting treated for them. God began this amazing healing process in my life, my body, my spirit, my soul and emotions during that time. I’m grateful now because at the time our church was really booming in growth. Some people said, “Wow, Kerry you must be talented. You must be gifted. Look at the church and how it’s grown.”
But you see, I know the inside story. God has worked miracle after miracle, after miracle, after miracle for our church to be where it is right now. We depend on God for miracles this year and in the future. The Lord allowed me to be knocked to my knees so that I could really learn, more and more, to depend on Him. I have to depend on Him to do anything. I can’t change one life. In fact, I can’t even stand up through a whole message. He has to do that through me.
And that’s the truth for us all the time. We can’t do anything without God. It’s just that we don’t realize it until we are hit with a weakness or a problem or a crisis. Then we get knocked to our knees, and while there we get emptied of our pride and filled up with God’s power.