In the early days after I contracted Myalgic Encephalomyelitis – chronic fatigue syndrome – the fatigue and other symptoms were at their highest. I was struggling to make sense of what was happening. It was most unpleasant, if not frightening, suddenly to feel helpless after I had been so active. So one morning I decided to drive round to a local beauty spot, thinking a change of scenery would help. It was there where I was taught an important lesson.
I was parked on the side of a reservoir looking down on the expanse of water. The moorland hills served as a stunning backdrop to the inviting scene. Normally I would have donned my boots and ambled around the lake perimeter. However, my walking was confined to barely a hundred yards, so I had to be content with watching the windsurfers practising their manoeuvres. There were quite a few out there, taking advantage of the stiff breeze.
I sat in considerable discomfort, feeling very flat and helpless. How was I going to get out of the mess I was in? I had so little strength and my senses were dulled such that it was difficult to concentrate to pray. How could God act, if I was so helpless? How could I get moving? I reached out from my heart to Father through a fog of fatigue. God seemed miles away. I asked that somehow He would connect with me in a way that I could receive. At that moment one of the windsurfers, probably a learner, got into difficulties and his sail fell flat in the water. He remained upright, and calmly pulled on the rope, lifted up the sail, held the mast to himself, and sped away across the lake at a vast rate of knots.
The significance of this was immediate and obvious. I was being reminded that so long as I put my trust in Father God He would hold me to Himself. Even though nothing seemed to be happening, I would move faster than anything I could achieve in my strength. In other words, with ‘me’ out of the way, God would be enabled, free to act, all to my benefit. I knew God had brought me through hard times before, even carried me. My wife and I had known his provision and enabling in wonderful ways, but for me this was something else, this was uncharted territory!
I returned home with renewed purpose. Something inside of me had ‘clicked’ that day! My strength and capabilities had been considerably limited – temporarily at least – so that I could realise His tremendous unlimited strength.