The divine paradox

Sept. 11, 2020

Scripture Readings

In our passage today, Paul relates how he begged God to take away his thorn in the flesh only to be refused three times. God’s reason is perhaps the most beautiful paradox in existence: God’s power works best when we’re weak.

I’ll tell you when I’m weakest. It’s when I’m writing scripts for the church. Hands down. I’m feeling rather weak right now. I’ve got the 2020 Christmas script open on my desktop, and I’m only about a third done. Bec just read some pages for me, gave me some encouragement, and said she wants to see how it ends.

I’d kind of like to know how it ends myself.

There is never a time in my life when I feel as worthless and inadequate as when I’m writing these scripts. I start to suspect it’s not very good, then I expand that notion into a general self-loathing, and then I stew in it. Since I’m writing a church play about eight months of the year, this a thorn in my flesh.

That said, it’s also when I’m most closely connected with God. The scripts I’ve done for Foothills have had impacts on people that are well-beyond the scope of my talent. I’m not so modest that I would downplay my writing chops; I think I’m pretty good at it. But the phenomenal redemptive work of these things is something that I can’t claim many parts in.

My most effectual work has always been churned out through despair and fear. But I cherish these times because I believe that now and then, the Lord channels his power through my fractured mind and out onto a page.

There are days, like today, when I think it’d be swell to not have frustration and weakness I feel in the process of writing, but I think it’s an important part of the package. Without that weariness and angst, I don’t think I’d make a very willing conduit for the Lord’s work. I think stubbornness and pride would get in the way.

I’m glad Ian called me today. He needed a devotional for three days from now and asked if I could write one last minute. It turns out, the passage had a message that I desperately needed to hear as I feel beaten down by the Christmas play.

I’m in my weak place again, but that’s where I’m strong.

Adam Schnell

Today is Adam’s official welcome to midlife day! It’s his “halfway to 90 day!” Be blessed friend, you certainly my bless us all.