“At some point in life, we must come to know who we are, like who we are, and be who we are.” – Lloyd Penley
I received this message on a beautiful Saturday morning via Facebook from an older, wiser pastor. It challenged me. It made me think about who I am, and if I like that person. I’m blessed that in general, I like who I am. I think I’m fun, humorous, creative, and a good friend. But then I began to think about the part of me that gets her feelings hurt easily and who avoids conflict like the plague. I began to think about my weakness. I don’t like that part of me.
Weakness is for the birds. It stinks. It’s no fun.
We all have areas of weakness. We struggle with feeling stupid, or inferior, or like a failure, or worthless. We grieve for what we have lost or what we’ve never had. We are anxious about our children and our health and our finances. We have dysfunctional family relationships and difficult marriages. And sometimes we are lonely and depressed and hurting.
You may disagree, but I believe that we are created with the capacity for weakness. We are made for weakness. And as much as weakness is hard to live with, it is actually beneficial to us. Weakness sucks, but weakness helps us in many ways. Here are three solid reasons to be thankful for weakness:
1) Weakness welcomes God’s grace. Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 12:7 that he was given a “thorn in his flesh” in order to keep him from exalting himself. He begged God three times to remove this weakness from him, but God said no. Paul’s weakness kept him humble. Because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble, weakness was beneficial to Paul because it kept him humble and it welcomed God’s grace into his life.
2) Weakness perfects God’s power in us. If you study the word “power” in the New Testament, looking up every verse that talks about it, you will find only one way that God’s power is perfected, or made complete in you. God’s power isn’t perfected in you through Bible study, or prayer, or even fasting. The only way the Bible says that God’s miraculous power is made complete in you is through weakness.
Weakness is the incubator of God’s miraculous power.
Paul said that he was happy to talk about his weaknesses so that the power of Christ could dwell in him. No weakness, no power.
3) Weakness makes us dependent upon Jesus. In Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus implores the weak and heavy laden to come to Him and to take His yoke upon them. If you are strong, you don’t need Jesus. You can just plow ahead, doing your own thing, without the help of Jesus. But the weak run to Jesus and say, “I can’t do this! Help me!” And that’s when Jesus gently places His yoke upon them so that they can pull together. The weak are yoked with Jesus and the burden is shared.
Not long after telling God that I didn’t like this weakness part of me, I began to thank Him for it. Weakness has kept me humble and welcomed His grace. Weakness is allowing God’s miraculous power to be made complete and whole in me. And weakness keeps me running to Jesus, depending on Him every day, every hour, and even every minute.
We are made for weakness. It doesn’t sound like good news, but it is. It is good news because we are made for relationship with Jesus, and weakness keeps us in that place of constant need of Him. Weakness drives us to “the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16).
Thank you, God, for weakness.