Strength In Weakness
God, help me believe this truth: “Come near to God, and God will come near to you” (James 4:8).
Read: MARK 3:1–6
 Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there.  Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”  Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.  He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.  Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
Reflect: WHAT WAS MOTIVATING THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS?
My daughter Jess, when she was little, got exhausted on a walk in the woods. “I can’t walk any further,” she sobbed through tears. After a rest and a snack, I explained that we had to either walk out the distance we’d come, or we could walk a shorter distance to our campsite. Given the choice, she decided to go on, and did it easily. As we reflected on the day over the campfire, she said she’d learned that you can do more than you think you can! The man in today’s story learned a similar lesson. A shriveled hand, whose limitations he had probably resented all his life, was capable, in response to Jesus’ command, of being stretched out, even though, humanly speaking, it was impossible. I wonder if there are similar restrictions we put on ourselves when we say “I couldn’t do that!” in response to God’s call. Just like the man with the shriveled hand, the apostle Paul had a weakness too – a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). It wasn’t healed, but he learned that weaknesses can be useful in God’s kingdom (2 Corinthians 12:8–10). No doubt Paul was uncomfortable; no doubt the man here was initially embarrassed when Jesus drew attention to him. But God’s strength is always made perfect in our weaknesses.
Thank God for your weaknesses and imperfections, and ask him to help you respond to his call without hesitation.
Lord, when You bring me to a vulnerable place in front of others, help me rest and trust that You are working for good.
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