We went on a family vacation last month and I sat and watched as my family walked around a lake. I’d been there a few years before and had run around it, not satisfied by mere walking, my energy exploded out of my feet. Now it was my victory to make it to the bench.
I woke this morning to hearing this in my heart, “My strength is perfected in weakness.” 1 Cor 12:9
I’m familiar with the verse. I know it. I’m not sure I know all that it means.
What was Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” I wonder? And it wasgiven to him so that he would not become conceited?! So his life would not be about how amazing he is but how glorious God is. It kept him humble, dependent and honest.
I thought being strong was the greater good. And not merely physically strong, but more importantly, spiritually strong – “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of HIS might.” Oh, there it is again. His might. We are to be strong in the Lord but not in our own capacity. We depend on His strength. We yield to Him. We ask for and surrender to and enjoy His strength, His very Life flowing through us.
Yes, we are to stand firm. Hold fast. Be strong and unwavering. We need to be. We are called to be. And to look to Him to do it in us and through us because when we think we can do it by ourselves or are doingit by ourselves – we get lost and prideful and the hero of our story is now written in the lower case.
But we are not the heroes of our own story.
Jesus is the Hero.
And boy do I needa Hero.
I have One.
So do you.
I’ve seen weakness displayed in others in a variety of ways that led my heart not to feel sorry for their weakness but to exalt in the God we both love.
My family has spent time in the dwelling place of a family who live on a dump in Guatemala. We have spent time with another family who live on a gorgeous ranch in the West. Both families love Jesus.
Guess whose testimony about the glory, the goodness, the faithfulness and the beauty of Jesus held more power shaking me to my core? I close my eyes now and I can still see their dark Guatemalan eyes shining with a Spirit filled light.
My strength is perfected in weakness.
I have spent time by the bedside of loved ones struggling for breath as their life was ebbing out of them, death just days away. I have spent time previously sitting with those same loved ones on front porches when they were strong and breathing deeply.
In each of those times we talked about the Presence and provision and hope of Jesus. We shared stories of His character and kindness and power. The early conversations prepared us for the latter but it was those latter conversations that were the stuff of legends. It was the fixed gaze of the Beloved on the Presence of God in the pain that was gold. Rubies. Priceless treasure.
Angels were as breathless as I.
My strength is perfected in weakness.
I stopped using a cane a while back and it’s time for me to pick it up again. Pride coupled with some warped embarrassment has kept me from using one for too long. Why do we despise our weakness? Why is it so unnatural to treat ourselves with kindness and mercy when our loving Father treats us with nothing else?
Because there is a story there, of course. Our lives are an unfolding story and the prologue for each of us is wrought with hidden moments that damaged our hearts. We must let the Light in.
Needing Jesus, needing His healing, needing His strength, His mercy, His help, His comfort, His wisdom, His perspective, His LIFE is not weakness. It is a gift. It is an honor.
I walk with a limp now and many days I walk with a deeper limp that others cannot see though it is just as real. I need my Jesus. I am leaning on my beloved. I am not embarrassed to do so. The truth is, He loves it as much as I do.
I am not the strong woman I wanted to be. But I am becoming the strong woman He wants me to be. A woman who is weak on her own but who is not on her own. She is tapped into the very heart of the God of all creation who is strong on her behalf. He is love. Love stronger than the grave. Love fiercer than death. Love that triumphs over evil. Love that prevails. Love that is kind and full of both mercy and power.
He is my strength.
So let me be weak. And please God, let His strength be perfected in my weakness.