Power-full or Power-less

I woke up this morning in tears. Last night a friend called and after a misunderstanding hung up on me. I am crushed and feel “powerless” this morning. So as I opened my Bible to read again Luke 4:14-21, I was struck by the first sentence that says Jesus returned to his home area in northern Israel, Galilee “in the power of the Spirit.” Power is actually a big word in our culture right now as we talk about justice and inequality so that some segments of society have power and others do not. Fourth of July will be celebrated with powerful fireworks celebrating our independence from one of the most powerful countries in the world at that time. Illness has given institutions the power to reformat services as I had a doctor visit over the phone yesterday. I did not need to stick out my tongue or have my blood pressure taken! Power, what is it?

To my surprise the Webster’s first definition does not deal with a source of energy ie that I receive power from without. The first definition is “ability to produce an effect”, secondly “authority”, thirdly “political control or influence”, fourthly angels, fifthly mathematical powers that indicate multiplication, and not until definition six do I find “a source or means of supplying energy.” As I ponder my late night discussion, I realize I feel powerless by all definitions of power.

Proverbs 1 turns the reader away from the desired outcome of powerful actions. Fools are enticed into company with people who promise wealth and prosperity and success but that becomes a trap that ruins them. Rather, the writer challenges us to focus on wisdom, on the fear of the Lord that leads to knowledge, discretion, guidance and understanding. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” This does not mean I am right and I will probably have to eat humble pie today to repair a valued friendship but it does mean I have a source of help outside myself, that breathes into my life and will help me navigate turbulent waters. I do not know your challenge as you face today but I pray you walk with the awareness of the power of the Spirit who cares for you. Blessings.

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