Weakness that strengthens

There’s a line of worldly thinking which conveys the idea that weakness deprives us of happiness, therefore, weakness must be bad, wrong, and unloving. Such people often view weakness as debilitating and of no value. As Christians, we need to be careful not to buy into this wrong thinking.

God, on the other hand, actively employs our weaknesses as a means for strengthening us with His divine resources and for the purpose of His glory. As we read Scripture, we repeatedly see the Lord achieving this in ways we never imagined possible. He does this by using our pains, our inabilities, our struggles, and even the criticism of others. Into this unpleasant mix, He adds His behind-the-scenes power, coordinating so-called chance happenings, and stirring our hearts by His Spirit to recognise His work. Most of the time, we’re not aware of His miraculous power at work, however, we often have the joy of seeing the gracious results.

Our Saviour is not a harsh task master, rather, Christ is our high priest who… sympathises …with our weaknesses, …who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He truly understands us. Therefore, view your struggles as the Lord views them, as customised opportunities to squash self-dependence while increasing our reliance upon His sufficiency. This requires persevering faith in His ability to meet our needs and to be glorified through our struggles.

The apostle Paul explains that while in Asia, the affliction they experienced… caused them to feel …utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself (2 Corinthians 1:8). While Paul confesses his vulnerability and desperation, he noticed that through his extreme suffering, Christ was rising to be Lord of his human priorities. 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 (2 Corinthians 12:10). Paul recognised the essential opportunities for Christ’s purposes offered through times of suffering. In these times Christ’s strength can be experienced, causing inexplicable contentment.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, exhorts us to count it all joy… when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  Realising his reader’s difficulty in understanding their trials, James offers instruction with a promise. If any of you lacks wisdom… in relation to your trials …let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him (James 1:2-5). Wisdom from the Lord infuses divine reasoning into our human experience, providing us with a heavenly perspective of our weakness and suffering.

The apostle Peter, who knew severe failure, uplifts his readers by reassuring them that God’s divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3). Therefore, growing our knowledge of God through His Word in difficult times is essential.

When we have exhausted all our ideas, energies, and resources, then are we set free from self to lean in dependant faith upon Christ. Through prayerfully reading God’s Word, we discover comfort in Christ and His majestic character. Through meditation upon His Word, we find earthly ease in recognising His sovereignty. We find relief while waiting for His intervention in our circumstances. We find peace, and even joy, from the truths of Scripture, and we find hope in His Lordship over our time and destiny.

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