Are you Weak Enough?
It is not a shocking revelation to note that our culture is obsessed with strength. Even a rudimentary experiment such as a search for the terms “strength” and “weakness” in the book section of Amazon confirms this. “Strength” shows up in approximately 20,000 book titles or topics, “strong” shows up in over 30,000. But “weak” and “weakness” are the topics of only 2,000 books.
After all, seriously, who wants to be weak?? We don’t post photos on social media of our limp arms, our crying jags, our vulnerable moments. We tend to only post about our weaknesses when we have finally conquered them and are ready to boast about our victory: the “before and after” weight loss, stubby-to-lusciously long eyelashes, splotchy skin to clear, flabby arms to toned, outdated bathrooms to trendy renovation projects. Weakness is only valued when we are ready to say we have defeated it!
We even use our Faith as a cover for our disdain for weakness. We expect our Faith to fix it, heal it, remove it, cover it up, erase it, transform it. Sometimes that is exactly what Christ does for us. But what about when he doesn’t? What about the weak spots in our lives that stay weak?
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
We often read that as a spiritual pat on the head, nothing more than a comforting thought meant to bring us an acceptance of our weaknesses not being “fixed”. Or, we somehow misread that as saying that Christ will always take our weaknesses and make us strong. But here is what we miss in either of those readings: we sometimes stay weak, and yet not only in spite of that but because of that Christ’s power (not ours) has room to shine.
Imagine a child with multiple missing fingers sitting down at a beautiful grand piano. In the natural, there should be no way this child could play “Chopsticks”, let alone Mozart. Now imagine this child has prayed, cried, begged for years for God to heal her hands and grow fingers for her miraculously. Yet every day, nothing changes. Until the day she sits at the piano and begins to play. The most beautiful classical music streams from the piano. Her hands are moving gracefully along the keys, moving so quickly the audience doesn’t notice what she instinctively knows…she still doesn’t have all 10 fingers. There is no logical explanation as to how she is playing the music she is playing. When the song is over, the audience sees her “weakness” is still there, unchanged. Do you think the applause and wonder of the audience will be unaffected by the reality that this child really shouldn’t be able to play the piano at all? Instead, they will likely be far more moved and profoundly impacted by the display of power that clearly has surpassed anything expected, ordinary, or able to be explained in terms of human strength.
Your weaknesses do not define you. But neither do your strengths. Reject the overwhelmingly popular idea in our culture that weakness only contains value when it is propped up in the “before” shot to be compared with the “after” display of strength we are all desperately seeking. If you are not smart enough, rich enough, healthy enough, talented enough, popular enough, experienced enough, good-looking, successful, titled, or privileged…..do not simply seek to eliminate every weakness that seems to keep you from impacting the world. Do not simply seek to just quietly accept that as your lot in life with no meaning behind it, either. Seek that secret spot of true success and power…..where we are weak vessels that give room to an infinitely powerful God to display demonstrations of beauty and strength so unimaginable they make it impossible to see the weaknesses (though still there!) of the human vessel. When we feel the need to fix and improve and correct every single weakness we carry, we miss the opportunity for God to do something even more powerful and impactful and impressive through us.
Leave room for God. Don’t photoshop Him out. The “after” of You+God is far greater than just the “before & after” of You. #NoFilterNeeded