I am weak

I’ve never been so grateful to be so weak.

Growing up Christian, I have long had it instilled in me that the power of God becomes especially apparent when we’re weak. I’ve read the verses countless times:

“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 
— 2 Corinthians 12:9

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
— Matthew 11:28

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” 
— Jeremiah 17:5

Until recently, I thought I understood what these meant. To me, weakness was a temporary state where I faced obstacles seemingly impossible to overcome. When these times were upon me, I would go to God in prayer and ask Him for the strength to endure until my problem was perfectly resolved. I would prioritize reciting Scripture, reminding myself that God wouldn’t allow me to encounter situations that I was incapable of handling (1 Corinthians 10:13), and that He would fulfill my needs with His power and resources (Philippians 4:19). 

For some time, this approach worked almost instantly. After praying, I would find myself re-energized and full of vigor, ready to tackle the next challenge. Conflicts were miraculously resolved and barriers divinely removed. I found this to be evidence that I had attained an accurate understanding of what it meant to encounter and overcome weaknesses. I thought of myself as a strong person faced with situations that made me temporarily weak, and of God as a supplement to my state of weakness.

As it turns out, however, I’m just weak.

I came to this realization a few weeks into the Fall semester, when different stressors began to appear. As per my usual approach, I tried to resolve them myself and turned to God only when they appeared out of my control. To my dismay, my challenges were not immediately resolved, but rather began to accumulate. Worst of all, I felt my peace disappear and motivation leave my body. Rather than feeling refreshed with zeal and an overcomer’s spirit, I felt tired, frustrated, and anxious. 

My prayers slowly shifted from requests to questions. My earnest appeals for strength and direction turned into inquisitions before God, asking why He hadn’t shown up as He had before. I wondered if He had closed His ears to my prayers, but knew that He always hears genuine prayers (Jeremiah 29:12-13). Next, I told myself that it must be a test. God was testing my strength and ability to endure the race until He would swoop in at the last minute and save me like the hero at the end of every movie. After the credits began to roll, however, I realized that this was not the case either. There was something that I was missing.

One morning, as I continued to battle with external pressures to be productive and an equal and opposite internal resistance, I remembered the words of a speaker on the YouVersion Bible app’s daily devotion. I remembered the speaker mentioning that every person has a God-sized hole in their body that only He can fill. In other words, every human being is incomplete without God. When I first heard the video, I accepted it in a manner similar to how the choir reacts when the pastor delivers a bomb one-liner (Amen!). My predicament, however, forced me to reanalyze this statement from a critical point of view, for direct application to my life. Through prayer and the study of Scripture, I came to understand that God is not the mechanic that I go to when my engine malfunctions, He is the fuel my soul needs to drive each day. His grace is sufficient for me because I am insufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me because I am not strong (Philippians 4:13). He is my light because I am surrounded by darkness (John 1:5).

A weak tire provides a rough journey even on a smooth road. I am not a strong individual going through challenges that make me weak, I am an innately weak individual that is fully dependent on a faithful God to get me through every and any circumstance. For many, the realization of our weak nature may sound like a nightmare, but I find it strangely comforting. Several obstacles still exist that leave me perplexed and often overwhelmed, but through them all, I feel the peace of God guarding my heart and mind (Philippians 4:6-7). It’s like I’m relieved of all of the burdens that I once tried to carry on my own shoulders despite putting my trust in God. I no longer feel the need to meet Him at the halfway point because I now understand that I am incapable of moving past the starting line without Him. I simply release the race to God and let Him be my guide (Deuteronomy 5:33).

As I grow in my walk with God, I constantly find my experiences of His presence changing. Just when I think I have a sound interpretation of His word and its practical implementation, I encounter a plight that alters or intensifies the reality of that view. It’s as if God has placed training wheels on my life, which He gradually adjusts as I grow more spiritually mature. I am able to travel with more speed and fewer limitations, but He always keeps a grip on the handlebars and holds me steady.

1 Comment

  1. Rita Dennis says:

    The information in this reading is mind-blowing. Very good observation of the scriptures. You inspired me to read and study the word of God for answers.

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