I didn’t get to go to the corn maze this year. Grad school can do that to you, but this was for another reason. I’m one of those people who gets sick every time the leaves start falling from the trees and we sneakily start to listen to Christmas music when no one is around. So, when my body started screaming at me that something was wrong, I took some extra allergies precautions and vitamin C, filled my bottle with sore throat tea, and kept going because that’s what you do in grad school, right? After a week of misery, I succumbed to the advice of my mother and got myself to the doctor. God created doctors and antibiotics for a reason, folks. One pack of antibiotics later, however, and I still wasn’t better. After a second doctor’s visit I was told to wait for the results of a blood test to check for a virus because we obviously weren’t dealing with anything bacterial.
That Wednesday morning, I was doing my devotions and fairly confident I would soon be able to return to the rigorous work my classes required. Very distinctly a fragment of a verse flashed through my mind. Startled, I tried to remember where to find it and after a quick Google search landed on Isaiah 26 verses 3 and 4. The New King James Version reads, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength.”
“Hmm,” I thought wearily. “Perfect peace. What a beautiful promise. Lord, please help me to trust You and keep my mind on You.” And I got on with my day, not thinking more of it. Sigh. A few hours later I got a call from the doctor confirming that I was infected with the Epstein-Barr virus. It wasn’t serious, but all they could tell me was that I could be sick for another week, or I could be sick for two to six months, there was no way to tell. No medication helps. Its main and lasting symptom is fatigue. I got off the phone and melted into exhausted and frustrated tears. This wasn’t supposed to be happening to me. I was too busy for this. I was already drained from normal student life; how could I handle so much extra fatigue? I… I… I…
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” God had known that morning that I would need His perfect peace later. My heavenly Daddy had known that I would need a reminder of what He promises to His kids who trust Him. And He had known that I would need a paradigm shift. I was focused on my own frenzied efforts to succeed in my degree, my relationships, and my work with my church that I hadn’t been willing to trust Him with any of it or make Him a part of it.
The next morning when my mind dismally drifted from prayer to my exponentially growing assignment list He flashed yet another fragment of a verse into my mind. Google brought me this time to 2 Corinthians 12:9. The NKJV reads, “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.”
How gracious is our heavenly Father. Even with His reminder the previous day to trust Him I had been trying to be strong all by myself in my feebleness. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” I imagine God looking at me like I would look at a kindergartener with a backpack on that’s twice as big and heavy as she is telling everyone that she could handle everything even though she was flat on her back after having toppled over backwards.
“Trust Me.” He tells me. “Look at Me, involve Me in your life, and I will surround you with peace. Don’t fight your weakness, I want it. I can do so much with it, but you… weeeeelllll, how’s that backpack feeling?” Don’t get me wrong. God didn’t make me sick. But I think He was able to use my weakened state to remind me of His strength and trustworthiness and my need. So, I didn’t get to go to the corn maze. And there are still mornings when the constant fatigue makes me feel utterly incapable and unsure of the grad school life I live. But like Paul, I can boast in my infirmity and claim His promise that His power will rest upon me. Let’s hand over our backpacks to Him.
Nikki Weis is currently studying speech-language pathology at Andrews University. She has been a supporter of Enspire productions since its inception.