Finding Strength in God's Grace by Alex Seeley
Have you ever experienced such intense grief that you didn’t think you were ever going to experience the joy you once had, in the same way again? Has there ever been a time in your life where you were so depleted of strength that it causes you to not want to get out of bed? Or, have you ever been in a place, after you have given so much of yourself, that now you are left feeling weary and faint and you want to give up?
I have been through all of the above and I know most of you have too. We all go through seasons of feeling overwhelmed. Life can be harsh and cruel at times. I have come to realize that being a Christian doesn’t make your life suddenly perfect. Jesus never promised a life without difficulty, or that while we were here on earth that we would just tip toe through the tulips until eternity. Life throws us curve balls and sometimes these difficulties nearly take us out, but even though we will face adversity and hardships that deplete our strength and drive us to want to give up, we have a God who never runs out of strength, and who never leaves us or forsakes us.
I remember when I was 29 years of age, and my cousin who was also my age and my very best friend overdosed and died suddenly. I couldn’t believe it. How could this happen? I had prayed for her life for decades…and I was believing with my whole heart that she would get well, and she was seemingly on the road to recovery. This was not supposed to happen. I will never forget the day I found out. I was on tour with my husband leading worship, and receiving that phone call shattered my heart into a million pieces.
There I was on the other end of the phone, hearing words that were too difficult to process. I dropped the phone and began to weep uncontrollably as I fell into my husband’s embrace. I wept for hours and could not stop. It felt like I had cried out every tear I had in my body.
As we continued to drive to the venue in which we were about to lead a worship night, for the church that were eagerly anticipating to encounter God, I couldn't think of anything further from worship that I felt like doing in that moment.
All I wanted to do is curl up in a ball and fall asleep, hoping that when I awake from this nightmare, it would have all been a dream. I sat in the corner of the church as we arrived—not wanting to talk to anyone, as I was so heartbroken and so exhausted from the physical pain of crying so hard. I felt so weak I could hardly stand up.
My leader reached out to me and said that I can totally sit this one out, considering the circumstances, and I was relieved. How was I going to be able to do anything with this grief that felt like a thousand bricks piled up on my chest? I couldn’t breathe and I felt so overwhelmed with grief. I made plans to leave on the next flight out to be home with my family, but there were no flights until the morning.
I remember sitting in the church staring into nothing and crying out in my heart to God, “What am I supposed to do now?” I remember sensing in my heart these words, “Alex, I need you to sing tonight”. “Sing!” I thought to myself, I can’t even stand up, let alone sing, but I kept sensing in my heart that this was what God wanted me to do to help me overcome. I remembered this scripture as I sat there contemplating how I would do this:
Corinthians 12:9-10 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
I sensed God saying, “When you are weak, and you let my grace move through you, then you will be strong.” It made no sense to me in the natural, but I knew God enough to know that if a thought popped into my head that did not come from me, because it was the last thing I felt like doing, then it must be God…and I should obey him.
I will never forget this night for as long as I live, because as soon as I got up to worship and began to sing, the heaviness that was covering me like a blanket, lifted off of me. I worshipped through my tears but I chose to sing anyway. It was like incense to the Lord. It was my sacrifice of praise unto the Lord, and as I sang I felt his presence begin to carry me and give me the strength that I needed to face this season of grief.
I can’t explain it, but the atmosphere in the room that night impacted the entire church. I had people come up to me afterwards weeping and saying that they also sensed Gods strength in the room. It’s not that I wasn’t sad, because I was. But his strength carried me supernaturally and I overcame my feeling of weakness in that moment.
That night taught me that his grace does have the power to carry us and give us the strength that we need when we are naturally depleted of it. The following week was the hardest week of my life, and yet I felt the strength of God propel me to lead and overcome the grief that I never thought I could. I learned to sing and worship the creator—regardless of my circumstances, and allow him to pour his grace into my situation and my heart, as I choose to lean on him as I walk through hardships and difficulties.
That was sixteen years ago, and the same principal applies today. I have understood that life will not be perfect, but the one who has the power to carry us through the most difficult situations will enable us to overcome hardships.
His power is made perfect in our weakness, therefore we can trust that His grace is sufficient in every area of our life when we don’t feel so strong and resilient, because He is.