Giving from Weakness

By Sandy Elder

The last few months have been challenging for me. I like to be active, I like to do, and I like to help others. But for a few months before June, I experienced severe sciatic pain and struggled to figure out how to get through my days. On June 27th, I had serious back surgery to relieve the pain, which included a laminectomy and double fusion.

The good news is that the surgery was successful; the bad news is that it takes 8 to 12 weeks for recovery. That meant I needed a lot of help. My husband worked from home to care for me, and when he couldn’t, family and friends brought me meals and stayed with me.

About four days after my surgery, I wrote this in my prayer journal: “Oh Lord, as I feel so weak and hurting, I don’t feel that I have anything to give anyone. Yet Lord, would you please help me receive from you, so I have something to give to others also. ”

Interestingly enough, the theme of my devotional reading that first week home from the hospital was “generosity.” Mark 12:41-44 shares how Jesus noted the poor widow’s gift of two small coins which she gave out of her poverty – not out of her surplus. Although I felt like I was always on the receiving end of others’ generosity, after a few days I began to see God work in a most interesting way.

On one of the hottest days in July, a woman I work with came by to bring me ice cream. She mentioned that she needed to go home to cook for her siblings who were coming to her house for a family reunion. I remembered that my sister had made me a big batch of curried rice salad. And since there was so much, I asked her if she like to take some home for her family. She tasted it, said her family would love it and took it home with her. The next day a friend from church brought me some new magazines to read. Though I am not a real magazine buff, she left them with me. When another friend came over two days later to help, I offered her the magazines that had been left for me, and she was thrilled. Do you see a pattern here?

In the first week home, we were given so much fruit that I was afraid it would go bad. But when a neighbor visited, I was able to give her a big bunch of grapes that she said her family would love. A day or two later, a friend from church who made us a meal saw that we had some daisy plants. She told me she wished she had bought some at her garden center, but now there were none left. My husband said he’d be glad to give her some extra plants, as he’d been eager to give them to someone. She was happy to have them and left thanking us!

Isn’t God amazing? Though I was doing nothing more than receiving all kinds of help from the body of Christ, yet God was using my weak, stay-at-home ‘status’ so that I could be a sort of ‘holding place’ from which He could bless my visitors with different gifts. God answered my prayer and made a way for me be involved in giving to others – even in my weakness. What a generous, and great God we have, who helps us to give even when we only feel our lack!