May I be honest? I have something I’ve been struggling with for a while. It’s one of those things that, if I’m honest, I absolutely detest. There are very few things I hate, but this is one of them. I hate weakness. More specifically, I hate being weak.
I used to pride myself in all I could accomplish in a day. I found pleasure in coming to the end of the day and knowing my day was successful. Now, I measure my success by whether or not I manage to make it out of bed and change my clothes. Thankfully, since I started lupus treatments three years ago, I’m able to do so much more than I was before, but I still find myself at the end of the day wishing I could have done more. I’m still weak, and it bothers me.
Yet as I’ve begged, pleaded, and cajoled God to help me accomplish more in a day – to make me stronger – He’s slowly been transforming my opinion on weakness. I’ve recently completed a Bible study on the book of Acts, and it really hit me how difficult Paul’s life was. As it says in 2 Corinthians 11:24-26, Paul was beaten, stoned, thrown in prison on more than one occasion, shipwrecked, bitten by a poisonous snake, ostracized, and dealt with some kind of illness. He understood weakness in a way that few of us ever will, and yet he is one the greatest Christian leaders of all time.
As I’ve pondered Paul’s life and wondered how God could use someone who dealt with weakness on a regular basis, I realized Paul understood two things about weakness. First, there is a vulnerability in admitting we are weak. The other thing Paul knew is that when we do allow ourselves to be vulnerable, God’s power can shine through our weakness. One of my favorite verses is found in 2 Corinthians 4:7, which says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” Even though this verse is often quoted, few people know the history behind it and miss the significance of what Paul is saying. You see, back in biblical times, people didn’t have banks, safes, and vaults to hide their most treasured possessions. So, they would take the most plain, nondescript jar clays, hide their treasure deep inside, and seal it. When it was time to retrieve their treasure, they would then break their jars of clay. It was only when the jar was broken that the treasure could be revealed.
We are all jars of clay, and like it or not, it’s only when we’re broken and weak that the power of God can shine through us. When we refuse to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and admit we are weak, we are preventing our true treasure from being released in our lives. That’s why Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 is such a profound statement. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”
Somewhere along the way we’ve forgotten that it’s not about what we can do, but what God can do. As much as we hate depending and relying on anyone, weakness forces us to realize we need God. It takes our misguided attempts to accomplish things on our own and shows us our need for a holy, sovereign God.
So, you’re weak? Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, choose to focus on the God who can do all things. We serve a God who is perfect in every way. Rather than believing in what you can do, maybe it’s time to start believing in what God can do. There is power in admitting that you’re weak because it turns your eyes to Jehovah-Uzi and gives Him the chance to shine in your life.
Are you believing and allowing God to be your strength?
“I love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” ~ Psalm 18:1-2
© February 9, 2017