This morning I started out my time with the Lord thinking, “I don’t even know what to say.” Immediately I thought of Romans 8:26-27:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Initially, I thought about it because I didn’t know what to pray or ask the Lord, but the word weakness grabbed me. I have never felt more weak, helpless, or uncertain in my life  than I do now (except maybe in infancy, but I don’t remember that too much), after having the rug pulled out from under me. But this passage reminds me it is entirely okay and even a good thing to be weak to the Lord. I just think of all the people whose weaknesses were clearly on display in His Word, and yet He used them mightily: Moses, Gideon, Abraham, David, so many more. He helps me in my weakness. It’s insane to me that He fully knows my heart, all the deep crevices that light has yet to touch in my mind, and He intercedes on my behalf in ways I don’t understand when I don’t know what to pray. Humbling. I have every reason to trust Him.

My favorite author, Elisabeth Elliot, certainly knows what it is like to trust the Lord in far more awful and uncertain circumstances than mine after her husband, Jim Elliot, and four other men were killed by an Ecuadorian tribe they intended to share the Gospel with. She conveys this kind of trust very eloquently here:

Some of you are perhaps feeling that you are voyaging just now on a moonless sea. Uncertainty surrounds you. There seem to be no signs to follow. Perhaps you feel about to be engulfed by loneliness. There is no one to whom you can speak of your need.

Amy Carmichael wrote of such a feeling when, as a missionary of twenty-six, she had to leave Japan because of poor health, then travel to China for recuperation, but then realized God was telling her to go to Ceylon. (All this preceded her going to India, where she stayed for fifty-three years.) I have on my desk her original handwritten letter of August 25, 1894, as she was en route to Colombo. “All along, let us remember, we are not asked to understand, but simply to obey…. On July 28, Saturday, I sailed. We had to come on board on Friday night, and just as the tender (a small boat) where were the dear friends who had come to say goodbye was moving off, and the chill of loneliness shivered through me, like a warm love-clasp came the long-loved lines–‘And only Heaven is better than to walk with Christ at midnight, over moonless seas.’ I couldn’t feel frightened then. Praise Him for the moonless seas–all the better the opportunity for proving Him to be indeed the El Shaddai, ‘the God who is Enough.”‘

Let me add my own word of witness to hers and to that of the tens of thousands who have learned that He is indeed Enough. He is not all we would ask for (if we were honest), but it is precisely when we do not have what we would ask for, and only then, that we can clearly perceive His all-sufficiency. It is when the sea is moonless that the Lord has become my Light.

What I am slowly learning? To be quiet, still, and trust El Shaddai, my Helper, on moonless seas.


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