“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I am simply not there yet. I don’t easily reveal my weaknesses or my struggles. I still want to appear like I am put-together all the time. I want people to think I am strong by not being outwardly phased by my weaknesses.
Yet, all throughout Scripture we see that the kingdom of God is a paradox….how God chose fishermen to build His church, that He sacrificed His Son for an ungrateful and rebellious race. How God shows His strength when His people boast about their weaknesses. I am always amazed in Scripture what God did with ordinary people in difficult circumstances.
And as for me….I am weak in my patience. I am weak in my faith, I am weak in my trust, and I am weak because I am proud. All too often I want to hide my weaknesses; deny, excuse, justify and defend them, and often resent them. I tend to believe that God only wants to use my strengths. Yet, despite my weaknesses I can only hope that God will shine through my flaws and use them for His glory.
The church often focuses on our gifts, our passions, finding our best fit and finding our purpose; and don’t get me wrong because all this is worthwhile. But I believe God also wants to use our weaknesses for His purposes. God’s ways are not always our ways and often God has a different plan and perspective.
I admit, this sharing of our struggles and weaknesses is rather risky and feels unsafe. Because whenever we are honest about deeply personal things, we make ourselves vulnerable, lower our defenses and risk being laughed at, mocked, gossiped about, and ultimately rejected.
There are times when I see people who appear to always have it altogether and who appear strong that I sometimes feel discouraged and overwhelmed, and think that I’m not good enough, mature enough or whatever.
I read one time that as with the cross, our darkest hour is one of God’s finest moments and its there where He does His greatest work, albeit unseen to us due to a multitude of reasons.
For too many years I have had a distorted view of real strength. Too often I think it has to be guarded and tough. I’ve thought being strong depended on me to not show emotion, that I’m “handling it” or I can “manage” this on my own, I am in control, to wear the mask that says everything is okay. Self-sufficiency means my strength, but in all honesty I crave the exhale of his strength.
Sometimes I feel like I am a slow learner….. that in my weakness He becomes my strength. And I love that about our God. For too long I’ve thought that weakness was a failure but I’ve come to learn it is the greatest place I could be.
Our Heavenly Father is an expert at taking the ashes of our lives and turning them into beauty. There is beauty in our brokenness, and when we are at our weakest, He is somehow strongest….. That is what makes the dark nights of our soul so beautiful….it is trusting that He will show up in His grace and power, and make something truly beautiful out of our weaknesses, something truly beautiful out of ME and out of YOU.
I am still on a journey of learning that to express my weakness is an expression of humility. On the other hand, all too often it is my pride that keeps me from making my needs known and asking others to minister to me. When I allow pride to rule, a powerful and ever-present enemy, I would rather suffer silently then humble myself and allow others to offer their help or their strength. All too often I have pretended to be strong when I am feeling weak or struggling. More often than I care to admit I have allowed pride to overwhelm humility and have suffered in my sinful silence.
As Christians I think we need to be honest about expressing our weaknesses and needs….but I’ll leave off here for now and continue with another post soon….