Grappling With Our Weakness
By Jeremy Young
I don’t like being weak.
Dating back to when I was in middle school I’ve wanted to get bigger and stronger. It was my understanding that if I was stronger I could hit a baseball harder so I tried some homemade workouts that I had heard rumors about (mind you there really was no such thing as the internet when I was in middle school. Netscape existed but who used that?). I lifted weights pretty seriously in High School (my glory days as my wife calls them) but those results faded quicker than HD DVDs.
Over the last decade as I’ve ministered to people I’ve realized that along with myself most people hate weakness but it’s not the kind that typically has nothing to do with muscles.
We hate the kind of weakness that doesn’t put us in the driver’s seat of our life. We hate losing control. We seem to not be able to manhandle our problems. Heavy lifting is of no use.
But why in the world does Paul boast in his weakness? What’s valuable about admitting and living in weakness?
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 after pleading for God to remove his “weakness”:
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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
We have a terrible track record of choosing things that we think will bring strength (money, fame, success, sex, etc). We typically choose the thing that puts us in the driver seat of our desires. But it never delivers on its promise. It always lacks and almost always leads to pain and death.
When we choose our desires it typically ends in a place of brokenness and weakness. But the pattern of the Bible is that when it looks like things are at their worst the upturn is within reach but it’s not in our strength that we’ll reach the upturn. We need a help that’s outside ourselves.
We can’t empower ourselves to do spiritual things. It’s God’s Spirit who moves and works in us in our weakest moments. For those who have trusted Jesus’ life and work, we are literally in union with Christ (Gal 2:20). It is He who can work in our weakest moments to empower us towards obedience. It is through Christ that we are in relationship with God the Father. We just have to ask him to empower us in those moments. He’s there. He’s strong. He wants to work in us to bring us into communion with God.
So, lean into God in your weakness, therein you’ll find strength, God’s strength.