We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. 2 Cor. 1:8-11(NIV)

     Dear heavenly Father, there are some lessons in this life of grace I seem to have a hard time remembering, or at least accepting. My limits and insufficiency are certainly two of them. The magnetic pull of the “cult of competency” is always lurking. Forgive me for not wanting to need the gospel, your Spirit, and community as much as you say I do.

     Thank you for the gift of Paul’s story. Thank you for an apostle of grace who boasted in his weaknesses that Jesus might be the hero. Thank you for the model of a lover of God who was utterly dependent on the God he loved. I want to follow Paul as he followed Jesus.

     So, Father, as this day begins, I forsake the illusion of my competency and cast myself on you, the God who raises the dead—beginning with Jesus. I’m not facing deadly perils, but I am facing people I love that I cannot fix, injustices in the world that I cannot right, old lingering wounds that I cannot heal, stubborn addicts that I cannot rescue, an aging process that I cannot reverse, cold marriages that I cannot thaw, and my own heart that I cannot change.

     Grant me grace to accept my limits and faith to trust you more; and a greater willingness to let friends enter my struggles and carry my burdens. I know you to be the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; I want to know you that way much, much more. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ kind and grace-full name.