The NCAA world is in the middle of March Madness, and people will be rooting for underdogs or wondering how that lower seeded “weaker” team knocked their team out of the bracket. But, being weak or strong is a relative concept, and it bears some thought today. Perhaps the strongest moments you ever have will only come through your 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV)
Does Strength Reside in Strength?
We live in a world where strength is made perfect in strength. That world is impressed by athletes and actors, media stars and moguls. We don’t tend to see a lot of value in the ordinary or the marginal. It’s even the same way in Christian stuff: If you can teach, God uses your teaching. If you can sing, He uses your talent. If you can turn a phrase, create a nifty slogan, and “unpack” the Bible, God will show himself through your competent efforts. And please don’t misunderstand this, all of those things are good. I certainly like it when I can do my best work for God instead of for myself.
But God is way bigger than that. I think he is perhaps glorified most when we are experiencing things in HIS power rather than in our competency. It’s a lot easier to talk about our victories in Jesus, or the mighty things God has done through, and for, and around us. We appreciate God’s strength in healings, but maybe not so much in the cases where somebody DOESN’T get healed…yet His grace is there in either case.
Maybe We’re Using the Wrong Standards…
We share and rejoice together in victories when we win by human standards, not so much when things don’t go our way. Is it possible that it’s actually MORE miraculous when we “lose”? But in that loss experience God’s grace, and encounter His comfort in the midst of sorrow? I think the same is true about spiritual health—it’s harder to share our failures, or talk about the ways God’s secret grace has brought us out of the depths of our own depravity, but if we encountered God’s power in our weakness, then it’s truly miraculous.
The Silver Lining of Weakness
I can honestly say that whatever worth I have in this world is based solely on God’s grace and forgiveness, not upon my wit or charm. Had I been the only architect of my fate, the structure of my life would have collapsed and burned long ago, compromised by inherent weaknesses and mistakes.
I have found over the years that if I’m left to my own devices, I will fall into personal selfishness and fail (usually on an impressive scale). I’ve been known to turn away from sanctification and embrace sin. I will exercise greed instead of grace, lust instead of love, and hate instead of holiness… I can’t possibly give you all the details about how ugly and selfish and foolish I have been, but trust me on this: my life should mainly be a testament to failure.
I’ll tell you this: God has been present when I’ve done those things. He has forgiven me and restored me. The details aren’t important, but His presence in my weakness was far greater than any of my gifts in their finest hour. We are comfortable letting God use our strengths. But how do we let him use our weaknesses?
For instance, I’m not worthy in any way to write about God, but here I am, offering a testimony to His grace and to the fact that He saved me from myself. You probably aren’t worthy either, but what’s YOUR testimony about God? Paul says he would brag about his own weakness, for when he was weak, God was strong. Let God’s strength shine through your life, not in your accomplishments, but in your failures.
I’ve been married more than forty years.
I have three awesome children who are grown;
I’ve had the most enjoyable of careers,
A lovely wife, a house to call my own.
Perhaps you’d look at me and say, “Success”,
According to the things that you can see,
But I can tell you, life would be a mess
If everything depended upon me.
I’ve done some things of which I cannot speak,
Made choices that I never should have made;
I have been stupidly, unutterably weak,
Like Esau offering his birthright in a trade…
I’ve turned my back on God without remorse,
Allowed myself to squander and to roam–
Yet He reached out to me, and changed my course,
And killed the fatted calf, and brought me home.
No matter what you’ve done, or where you’ve been,
The Father’s love will go to any length–
Yes, to the Cross! To save you from your sin-
Your weakness will reveal the Father’s strength.
To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread
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