The way some people talk about peace seems very degrading to me. They talk about it as if it is a trick of the mind. As if we just need to clear the papers off our desk and close our eyes, then—poof!—stress is gone and peace arrives. This is such...
There’s no denying it. I am weak to the core.
My body is weak as it continues to be beaten down by Lyme disease and its devastating effects. My mothering abilities feel weak as I grow weary caring for four sick children who are also being ravaged by this awful disease.
My marriage has had weaknesses exposed as my husband and I carry stress loads that statistically leave 90% of marriages in divorce. Even our basic needs have left us feeling weak and vulnerable after my husband was laid off work. And if I’m honest, my faith has felt weak as I’ve wrestled with the Lord through my confusion, fears, anger, and weariness.
Three Reminders for the Weak and Weary
In my flesh, I despise feeling weak. But in the Spirit, I’ve found a sufficient and satisfying strength. If you’re struggling with weakness (whether physical, emotional, or spiritual), be encouraged by these three reminders from Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10:
1. You are accepted and loved.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. (v. 8)
When my husband lost his job, I went through a period of shock and didn’t want to speak to anyone, including the Lord. We were already feeling like we were sinking, and had been praying for deliverance, healing, and provision. I felt angry, confused about how to reconcile what I felt with what I knew to be true about the Lord, and numb, completely overwhelmed by reality. What do we do in a place like this?
We throw ourselves upon Christ, even the messy, doubting, angry part of us. He knows our thoughts, emotions, and hearts better than we do. We are believing a lie if we think we must pull ourselves together before we can come to him.
Why do we seek momentary comforts and solutions to temporarily drown our pain, rather than casting ourselves at his feet in dependence on his mercy, grace, provision, and strength? Jesus knows what we need and is able and willing to provide it, so let’s bring ourselves to him in honest prayer and receive what he has for us in his Word. He will be faithful to meet us where we are—weakness, mess, and all.
2. He gives strength.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (v. 9)
Just as we can’t see the wind with our eyes, yet see evidence of its presence, we can’t see or always feel the strength of Christ flowing through us, yet we see evidence of his power. I marvel at how the Lord has infused me with his strength. In my flesh, I’ve wanted to run—but I didn’t. In my flesh, I wanted to be angry at the Lord, yet I found myself desperate to be near him and drawn to the Word as if it were my very lifeline of survival. I felt no desire to get up each morning to care for my kids (or myself), yet somehow I made it through another day.
Although I don’t feel strong, I see incredible evidence of his strength in me. So draw near to Christ honestly and trust him to give you the strength you need. You may not feel it in the moment, but he will be faithful to equip you, even if it’s simply to take your next breath.
3. His strength brings joy.
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. (vv. 9-10)
In Christ, you will experience joy, even in circumstances that you don’t enjoy. Paul’s weaknesses drew him into a deeper love-relationship with and reliance on his Savior. Though I imagine he found no joy in the thorn in his flesh, his words express a contentment and joy as he experienced the strength of Christ. Oh, I pray this would be true of you and me!
Whatever trials we are entrusted with, may we be so satisfied in Jesus that we gladly boast in our weaknesses because of how Christ’s power is miraculously displayed through them. Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t pray for relief, healing, or provision; but if the Lord chooses not to bring it, we have an opportunity to bear the evidence of Christ’s power shining through our flawed, weak, and broken lives.
Strength in Weakness
There is a strange freedom that comes with knowing that God alone is big enough to save us. While we’ve been blown away by the love that others have shown us, ultimately it is Christ who has sustained us, provided for us, and carried us through this darkness.
In the words of Charles Spurgeon,
Oh, storm-tossed believer, it’s a happy trouble that drives you to your Father! Now that you have only your God to trust in, see that you put your full confidence in Him….Show the strong person how strong you are in your weakness when underneath the everlasting arms. Now’s the time for feats of faith and valiant exploits. Be strong and very courageous, and the Lord your God will surely glorify Himself in your weakness.