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.
–2 Corinthians 12:8-10
I’ve often been held captive by the old lie that Christians must always be strong, especially leaders. Having been thrust into leadership very early in my Christian walk, I’ve constantly tried to maintain at least the appearance of strength if not the actual quality itself. For the most part, I have been blessed with a resilience that probably appears to many as strength, but feels more like peace. Perhaps peace is a type of strength. (Must ponder that later…)
But even with that blessing, I am still quite weak, because I am still quite human (I hope). People often think that you pay a price for being weak, but I’m starting to think it’s the other way around. You pay a price for doing things in your own strength rather than relying on the Lord to carry your burdens and guide you along the right path. That price can be any number of things: regret, debt, lost relationship, illness, and so on. My grandma remarked to me just yesterday that she could not fathom how people got along through their difficulties without having the Lord to lean on.
During this most recent season of my life, I’ve had to embrace my own weakness (or at least convince myself that’s what I ought to be doing). God has still granted me a measure of prosperity in my endeavors, more to the credit His own faithfulness than that of to my ability. Yet, things haven’t really turned out how they always have. It’s been a time of humbling for sure. Right now in particular has been a time of severe humbling, even if only privately.
Like Paul, I have begged God for relief and not found it. But if my faith were founded upon my circumstances, upon the things I could see, I would have abandoned it long ago. No. His promise in the above verse IS true. His grace IS sufficient for me. His power IS perfect in my weakness. And He WILL enable me to delight in the things that cause other people to lose hope. Because I AM weak. But because I am weak, I am strong, or rather He is strong in me and through me.
Who are you? I hope you are weak. Be like Hannah with Samuel. Embrace it, then offer it to God, and watch what He can and WILL do with that offering.