A few weeks ago, Larry Pons brought a tremendously meaningful word to our church here in Franklin, NC. It seemed so rich, I felt that God would have you to hear it too. So here is a slightly edited version:

The week before Christmas, I was helping my father-in-law clean up the area around his home, which is set deeply in the forest. Working with him and a brother-in-law, it had been a laborious day, and I was weary and exhausted. When I suggested that we stop for the day, my father-in-law asked that we do one more task. In the top of a relatively tall tree were several limbs hanging , partially broken  in a recent ice storm. After putting together, fully extended, the sections of one of those shaky, limber, aluminum ladders, I was standing on the very top rung as it leaned [unsafely] against the trunk of the tree. As I strained upward with the saw in my hand to cut the last and highest limb, the ladder slipped around the trunk of the tree and went completely out from under me. As I started falling, i reached out and grabbed with one hand, a limb which was far too small to hold me but for a moment. As I grasped the limb, I heard my father-i-law yell, “Hold on! We’ll get you!” I knew I couldn’t. Being so weary from the long day’s labor, I felt the lib slide out of my grasp, and as I started to fall, I cried out this one-word prayer, “LORD!” Just as suddenly, I felt my feet land in a fork of a large limb and the tree trunk. Frightened and shak[ing], I slowly descended the ladder, [which] was being steadied from the ground by my two co-laborers.

Later, as I meditated on the responsiveness of a loving Father-God. He clearly spoke to me new understanding of His words to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My power is made perfect in weakness” (emphasis mine). My weakness . . . causes God’s power to come into play. I had “given up” so-to-speak. I became weak, and in my weakness I “cried out”, “Lord!”, and HIS power was activated. In essence, my one-word cry was a confession of my weakness and a committing of my SELF into His care. My cry released His sovereignty and “saved” me.

Naturally, I have thought about this lesson many times in the ensuing 3-month period, and God has shed much light on “how to be an overcomer”. Paul said, “I rejoice in my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties”. NOT ME, the NATURAL man! No. I’m going to find my strength through my self-development courses, through my knowledge of Scripture, through MY faith! But God is showing me a strange paradox. When am WEAK, the I am STRONG. The most amazing thing for me to learn is that when I, Larry, am strong, that’s when God is weak! The Spirit of God is the very essence of His being – IN and THROUGH us! And when we are expression our strength, then He is “weak”. Now, I’m not saying literally that God is ever weak; He is omnipotent. but the GRACE of God falls away or lays back when we are expressing our strength. “We don’t need Him”, we are saying.

In sharing this with you, I am assuming that each of you is walking with Lord. Outside of the Lord, it will be most difficult to receive this. WE need to remember, we must remember, that it is God who gives us the strength in the first place, even that which we call OUR strength.

From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 29, March 1983.