You know those situations that make you feel utterly powerless? They have a knack for bringing us to our knees, don’t they?
So many things bring us to this state. Sickness. Uncertainty. Failure. Mental struggle. Fatigue. Temptation.
Even small problems and conflicts can debilitate us. You know when something like that just gets to you? When you think you should be totally fine, but for whatever reason you feel completely conquered? Unable?
Realizing our weakness time and time again is a natural result of everyday life. Whether it’s a failed test or a chronic illness, we can’t escape the fact that we can't lead a seamless existence.
On top of that, we know that God chooses the lowly. We know he uses the weak. The Bible is brimming with examples: David, a 12-year old shepherd; Joseph, a despised brother; Matthew, a tax collector; even Jesus, a poor carpenter.
We know all this.
So why are we so horrified when we find weaknesses in ourselves?
I’ve had some of that lately. Some struggle. Some insight into my true feebleness. Some humbling.
I’d been running on my own strength for so long that weakness blindsided me. I thought I was doing okay at holding everything together, until a few giants knocked it all out of my hands. It hurt.
But honestly, I’m thankful for this reminder.
The world says that a strong, wise person is someone who runs on their own steam: someone who’s built a life of luxury from the ground up. In God’s eyes, however, a person viewed ‘weak’ and ‘foolish’ by the world has the most potential.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. -1 Corinthians 1:27
When we realize our weakness and need for God, we’re right where he wants us to be. This the only place where we’re able to receive the kind of wisdom and strength he alone can offer.
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
And did I mention it’s humbling? When we’re openly receiving our strength and wisdom instead of mustering them up on our own, God is most clearly shown to the people around us.
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. -Galatians 6:14-15
Here, Paul mentions circumcision: an act that was brag-worthy among Christians back then: a way to promote yourself. There's a parallel here with things we do now, like posting on social media, volunteering, or working hard. The point is, our ways of showing off our ‘strengths’ don’t matter: what matters is the new creation God makes us into.
We aren’t merely flesh and bones clawing our way to the top: we’re new creations. We’re not called to impress people: not even our Christian friends. We’re called to follow God by his power alone, and for his glory alone!
To bring this full-circle, here’s what I want you to hear. Read this as a letter from me to you, from someone who's struggled with this and wants you to know God's redeeming truth about your weakness:
Hello! I'm Anna, a college student living in the Midwest. I'm a strong believer in uncontrollable laughter, powerful words, and a morning cup of coffee. I pray these posts will encourage you to live a full life with and for God: unhindered. Look forward to new posts every Monday morning!