“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).
How are you doing?”
It’s a pet peeve of mine — that I also happen to be guilty of when those words are used as a greeting rather than as a question. It’s easy to say, “How are you doing?” without actually wanting a substantive answer. Sometimes people will ask me that without even breaking stride as they pass me by. That speaks volumes to me. The only appropriate, or even physically possible, answer becomes “Oh, fine” or “Good!” — even if things may not be so ….
This type of shallow greeting embodies a lot of our everyday interactions. We often hum along the surface in relationships, but rarely plunge beneath to the real state of our hearts. How can you even discern if a brother or sister is weakened by attacks if you don’t pause long enough to look in their eyes and really seem concerned?
Christian community should be one of the places where people can actually be free to feel vulnerable or express weakness. Gathering with fellow Christians should be one of the few times where we don’t hide the realities of life. To be vulnerable may mean to be honest about sin, or brokenness, or weakness, or just the general mess of life that happens to us all ….
Weakness encompasses guilt from the past, low-level anxiety, loneliness, sadness, or a general lack of joy or satisfaction. Some may be doubting God, feeling overwhelmed or inadequate as a Christian, husband, wife, parent, or employee ….
There’s a danger when Christians are expected to be open and honest, but are not. If someone opens up about an issue, a vulnerability or weakness; and others respond with flippant attitudes, Christian clichés, total silence, shock and even disgust, or perhaps even indifference, this discourages and even prevents openness. It shuts a person down giving the message that your weaknesses or struggles are of less importance than striving for perfection ….
It communicates to the one who shared, as well as to the others in the group, that what was shared is unimportant. Others will remember this experience and never share anything vulnerable about themselves. When Christians fail to respond well to tender moments it stunts friendships and ministry, and it leads to nice, but superficial relationships …..
The same is true in our lives as children of God. God created us according to His plan, in love and with purpose — weaknesses and all. We tend to view our weaknesses as liabilities. However, since our worth does not depend upon us in any way, we must be honest about our weaknesses, knowing they do not diminish our value in the heart and mind of God. In fact, our weaknesses can become the areas through which God does His greatest work …..
Instead, we try to ignore weaknesses, hoping no one will notice. We live in denial, assigning blame to others when we fail. Eventually, we attempt to bury our weaknesses only to find them resurrecting themselves when we least expect it. This is especially true of anyone dealing with debilitating emotional issues …
For many years, I did everything I possibly could to hide or erase any weakness in my life. From childhood where I was taught tears are weakness, pain is weakness, and any show of emotion is weak and so would never cry; carrying these lessons all the way to my adult years where I “walked hard” so to speak, and carried a rough exterior posture and facial expression. When that didn’t work, I simply pretended that those weak areas didn’t exist. Why? Because if I was weak, how could anyone love me? How could God love me? How could I love myself? I was told over and over how unlovable I was and no one could ever love a weak spineless piece of garbage like me ….
I was trained to believe any sign of discomfort was weakness. I was punched harder if I cried, if I was shoved down or stumbled I would receive a kick to my back. Tears were viewed with disgust and disdain, and having had to be a “scrapper” I grew up fighting any sign of weakness or emotion. Any emotion expressed was a liability which was merit for a worse beating. Validation was never acknowledged unless it was to continuously deem me unworthy and useless for only one thing — “their pleasure” …..
The word for weakness found in (v. 9) has many meanings. In addition to the obvious lacking of strength, feeble, frail, undergoing calamity or struggle; it can also refer to an inability to accomplish what we’d like to do ….
How many times do we commit to do something and then we don’t follow through? Or how many times do we commit to being less selfish only to fall short of our own expectations? Or more loving, more friendly, even more compassionate only to fall miserably short? This is also what weakness is at its essence. The failure to live up to whom God wants us to be because we’re prone to human frailties ……
But there are some amazing truths that Paul reveals in these verses. He gives us a key here to spiritual power and vitality. God’s grace is more than just the forgiveness of God to accept you as you are. The grace of God is a power that is present in weakness, a power that is perfected in weakness. Perfected means to bring “to an end, to complete, to fulfill, to reach the intended goal”….
A powerful life embraces pain, brokenness and weakness, and understands that perfection is for Heaven, not Earth. The words of Paul are profound, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the wise. (1 Corinthians 1:29).
When we are honest about our weaknesses, we are conceding the fact that only God can accomplish anything good in or through us. God’s power is instantly recognizable in obvious weakness. God has always allowed man’s weakness to validate the immeasurable need of His redemption and His sufficiency in our lives. He can and will use us if we allow Him to do so — not despite our weaknesses — but through our weaknesses ….
We are not the message – just the messenger. Our weaknesses are not excuses to escape God’s plan. They are divinely appointed opportunities for that plan to work. More important than where you have been or even where you are, is where you are headed ….
Don’t wait until you have it all figured out. That won’t happen this side of Heaven. Don’t wait until you think you are good enough. You never will be. Step up to the plate and be the imperfect you; allowing God’s perfection to shine through each and every weakness …..
Do not listen to the doubts and lies of Satan. His goal is to render you helpless and defeated, no longer a threat to him or his kingdom. I recently told a friend, “I want to get to the place in my walk with God, that when my feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says, ‘Oh, no! She’s awake!’” I know I have a long way to go, but join me in the choice to embrace weakness and pain, allowing God’s strength and restoration to shine through each broken place ….
Read the story of Gideon in (Judges 6:1-27). What was Gideon’s response to God when God called him to serve? What is your usual response to God’s voice? Whose strength accomplished the task God called Gideon to do? How can you relate that to your own daily life?
For years, I struggled with not being good enough. Many of my hopes and dreams were lost or paralyzed by doubt and fear … until I found myself in a clinical pit of depression and suicidal once more because of my weaknesses, but a place where God is teaching me so many life changing lessons. No one can take my place in the Father’s heart. I am indispensable to no one but God. I will never be “good enough” but my relationship with God does not exist because of good works, nor will it be sustained by what I do. He loves me. Instead, He lives through me, and I live by His power. Do not let the enemy backhand you with the lie that you are nothing to God. My friends, you are everything to Him, and that’s something worth crying over ….
Let’s pray ~
Father, right now, I yield to the truth that I am weak and You are strong. Forgive me for the arrogance and pride that makes me think I can do anything good on my own. Keep me broken, Father, and on my face before You. Please use the broken places in my life to let Your light shine through. In Jesus’ Name, Amen …