Recently, I named my work email inbox Mt. Etna after I got off a video call to find the new contents had exploded. All week it has alternated between a landslide and a slow overflow where I would clean out two messages only to have three more stream in, over and over again.
Some weeks bring us to our knees. In reality, every week should find us on our knees.
Driving up the side of the literal Mt. Etna in Sicily you view a half-buried house, the remnant of an abandoned home overcome by an eruption from the distant past. Did the occupants escape? A thin wisp of smoke curls into the blue sky from the active peak. From miles around, she dominates the skyline, and even in the coastal Taormina, a Greek theatre sits with the volcanic backdrop.
The slopes appear desolate initially, and I have carefully walked trails along ridges where the tiny charcoal gravel made the terrain only slightly less slippery than black ice. However, along one of those paths I saw a brilliant red ladybug, and then another and another. Further exploration began to show small resilient plants, wildflowers, and the vast panorama of the sea in the distance.
Through the course of this week, I realized that I’ve had some type of text or messaging conversation with no less than four people about a passage in scripture, some initiated by me, some not.
"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Why have these words been so resounding? Here are some of the stories from people I know: Friends are pressing forward into difficult workloads with courage. After learning his heart surgery was scheduled, a 12-year-old child told his mother, “I’m going to be okay.” There were a few others who underwent surgery. A couple walked into a doctor’s office to learn how their life will pivot knowing it will never be the same, yet beforehand asked for prayer because this day “NEEDS all the prayers.” A dear lady, who has repeatedly praised God for His work in her family, is on hospice as the embers of a life well-lived slowly fade.
Call to Action
My strength is made perfect in weakness.
What may look desolate around us is strong and resilient and sufficient. Similar to Mt. Etna, it may be difficult to see the signs of life, grace, and strength. Yet, I see those around me taking hope in the Word of God, finding strength in the brilliant sunset colors, discovering comfort in their pets and by watching animals around them, and counting their blessings like Abraham counted the stars.
“The Lord has shown me that His grace is sufficient for all our trials; and although they are greater than ever before, yet if we trust wholly in God, we can overcome every temptation and through His grace come off victorious.”1
Sufficient grace. Perfect weakness. Our Savior’s victory.
All scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Ellen G. White, Early Writings (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1882), 46.