I clearly remember the day my husband lost his job. The sudden reality of being a family of six with Lyme Disease and no income left me feeling emotionally and spiritually paralyzed. Eventually, as the shock wore off, an overwhelming sense of weakness and fear began to seep into every hidden, self-reliant crevice of my heart.
I greatly dislike feeling weak. In fact, I often do whatever I can to avoid feeling weak, or at least appearing weak. Yet, these days, there is no denying it. I am weak to the core. My body is weak as it continues to be beaten down by Lyme Disease. My mothering abilities feel weak as I grow weary trying to care for four sick children who are also being ravaged by this same awful condition. My marriage has shown cracks of weakness as my husband and I carry stress loads that statistically leave 90% of marriages in divorce. Even my basic needs of life have been threatened through past job loss and continuous financial stressors. And if I’m honest, my faith has felt weak as I’ve wrestled with the Lord through my anger, confusion, and fears over my life’s circumstances.
Weakness Is an Invitation
In my flesh, I despise feeling weak. But in the Spirit, I have found a strength that has been both sufficient and satisfying. I have also found that weakness, far from being punishment, is actually an invitation from God — if I’m willing to hear him.
1. Come to Christ honestly, trusting that you are loved.
I admit, the day my husband lost his job, I didn’t want to speak to anyone, including the Lord. Hours before he received the news, we had been praying together for deliverance, healing, and provision. Losing our sole income was not exactly how I pictured the Lord answering. I felt angry, confused, and unsure of how to reconcile what I felt with what I knew to be true about the Lord.
What do we do in a place like this?
We can come boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). Paul shows us how in 2 Corinthians 12:8, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.” He doesn’t come shaking an angry fist at God, but he does come honestly, bringing his need and pleading for relief.
We too can throw ourselves upon Christ — even the messy, confused, doubting parts of us. He knows our thoughts, emotions, and hearts better than we do, and most importantly, he knows what we need, and he is able and willing to provide it. Let’s bring ourselves to him in honest prayer and a willingness to receive what he has for us in his word. He will be faithful to meet us where we are, mess and all.
2. Come to Christ and receive his strength.
The Lord answered Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). I too have experienced his grace in weakness in ways I never would have in my own strength.
As I look back, I marvel at how the Lord has been faithful. In my flesh, I’ve wanted to run from all the pain — but I haven’t. In my flesh, I’ve wanted to be angry at the Lord, yet I’ve found myself desperate to be near him. I have lived in the word as if it were my very lifeline. Many days I’ve struggled to get up each morning, yet I’ve seen his constant faithfulness to carry me through the day.
I’ve learned that although it may not feel like it in the moment, he will be faithful to equip us with what we need each and every moment — even if it’s simply enough energy to take our next breath.
3. Come to Christ and glorify him.
By God’s grace, I have been able to say as Paul did, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 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 12:9–10).
As we are filled with Christ’s strength in our weakness, we can experience joy, even in circumstances that we don’t enjoy. Paul was able to boast gladly in his weaknesses because they drew him into a deeper love-relationship with and reliance on his Savior. Though I imagine he found no joy in the thorn in his flesh, his words express a contentment and joy in the midst of it, as he experienced the strength and sufficiency of Christ. As Paul’s love for Jesus grew — despite and even through the pain in his life — his joy grew as Christ’s name was glorified through the very thing he desired to be free from.
Whatever trials we are entrusted with in this life, whether brief or spanning a lifetime, may we be so satisfied with Jesus that we can gladly boast in our weaknesses because of how Christ’s power is miraculously displayed through them. Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t pray for relief, healing, or provision, but if the Lord chooses not to bring it, we have an opportunity to bear the evidence of Christ’s power shining through our flawed, weak, and broken lives.
Invited to Be with God
As much as I have grieved, ached, and sat in silence these last couple of weeks (and years), I have experienced a sweet, satisfying dependence on Christ that no words can sufficiently describe.
While we have been blown away by the love that others have sacrificially shown us, ultimately it is Christ himself who has sustained us, provided what we need, and carried us through this long, dark season. There is a strange sense of freedom that comes with knowing that God alone is big enough to save and carry us through the circumstances we face. He has taken away all resources, but given us himself.
What an incredible opportunity to throw ourselves wholeheartedly on his trustworthy name and watch his power be made perfect in our weakness. My prayer is that we would see our weaknesses and trials as opportunities to draw nearer to Christ and experience the joy of seeing his strength shine through them. Though the pain may remain, our understanding may be limited, and our trials may continue, if we are in Christ, we can come to him honestly, fill ourselves with the truth of his word, and trust that our weaknesses will become a vessel to display his strength.
In His Strength,
To read more on the hope we have in suffering, you can purchase “Hope When It Hurts – 30 Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering” authored by Sarah Walton and Kristen Wetherell here or here
Post previously appeared on Desiringgod.org