We live in a society that despises weakness.
This is why we try so hard to make ourselves, our lives and our messes look good from the outside. We strive to cover up any imperfections and hide the turmoil going on inside.
We want so desperately to connect, to be known, to be loved, and yet we put endless effort into hiding our truest selves.
I’m not just referring to non-Christians here. It’s in the church that I’ve experienced this most.
Recently I’ve been struggling with my weakness as it relates to the chronic illnesses I have. To be honest I have multiple and they affect me each and every day and it's tough.
But most people around me wouldn’t know this. I’m extremely good at covering it up.
Why is it so important to hide our weakness? Why do we so desperately desire to appear “fine”?
Satan has his hand at work in all of this.
Because when we place our energy into hiding, we turn our backs on God’s desire to work in our weakness.
When We Come Face-to-Face with Weakness
My health has constantly been changing. But I’ve put so much effort in structuring my life so that I can appear and live as close to “normal” as possible. It’s a lot of striving. It’s a lot of hiding. It’s a lot of feeling unloved.
There are times, though, that my symptoms and weaknesses are too much to cover up. When I feel overwhelmed by lack of control I have over these symptoms and how they affect my life.
About a year ago, I hurt my wrist pretty badly doing something very simple. This is easy to do with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome because all my joints are extremely weak. It took months and months to recover from this and my wrist was never the same.
Well, a few days ago I was doing a house project and by the time I finished, my wrist was throbbing with pain. I couldn’t help but feel devastated. The same wrist being reinjured, not even a year later, left me hopeless about the state of my joints.
I feared I’d done the same thing and that it’d be months of recovery yet again. And my husband’s discouragement was the tipping point of that devastation.
I tried so hard to cover up my weakness and to fit my life around it so that it barely had an effect. But I couldn’t control it.
I wanted to hate my body. To hate the brokenness that I’d been dealt, that I couldn’t stop or control no matter how badly I tried. But my thoughts went to Paul and the Scripture I had memorized so long ago.
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me… -2 Cor 12:7-8a
This weakness was becoming a messenger of Satan in my life. It was tormenting me because I did all I could to act as if it wasn’t there and I still had no control.
I begged God to take it away. I pleaded with the question, “Why me?”.
But aside from miraculous healing, these health conditions are something that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. And there is no stopping the ups and downs of symptoms.
I came face-to-face with my weakness and I despised it. And because of this, I despised myself and questioned God.
But praise God there is a better way.
God’s Power in Our Weakness
I am not left alone in my weakness.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” -2 Cor 12:9
I’ve asked God to take it away from me. But I’ve had to accept that on this side of heaven, I will face these challenges - this weakness - indefinitely. And it’s not the end of the world.
If God takes away my weakness, how will His glory and grace be seen?
The truth is, we need our weakness. We live in a broken and needy world and we do not escape that brokenness.
Instead, we are filled with it. We are overcome with it without God’s grace.
And so Jesus Christ stepped out of the beauty and perfection of heaven and into our broken world and he loved us hard. He loved us so much that he became a sacrifice in order that we could find hope in this weakness.
No more striving. No more hiding.
Because of Jesus, God gives us grace. We can find freedom in our weakness. We can find hope in our brokenness.
God’s almighty, unimaginable power is made perfect in our weakness.
Those things you try to hide and cover up? That’s where God’s perfect power and grace can be seen.
We need to stop being a culture that despises weakness, but instead, one that invites it in. Because when we find the freedom to face our weaknesses - that’s when Christ’s power is most vivid and most alive.
What weakness in your life can you stop hiding or running from? When you face it, God will show up.
Joy in Weakness
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. -2 Cor 12:9
God’s power in my weakness does not need to mean a miraculous healing. But God’s grace can be made perfect in me, Christ’s power may rest on me because my weakness drives me to depend so fully and so deeply on God.
It leads me to the truth that I cannot do this on my own, but that I desperately need God’s grace and strength. And when we recognize this, there is an unimaginable joy and freedom that follows.
When I come to God in complete surrender, I begin to want His glory above all else. I begin to see that there may not be complete healing in this life, on this earth, but that is okay.
I find peace in the fact that on this earth I will struggle. On this earth there will be troubles and brokenness and pain. But despite all of those, there is undeniable hope in the eternity that we have in Christ.
Despite my pain and weakness, I have hope that as I boldly follow God here on this earth, my reward will be great in heaven.
My heart begins to long for God’s will and God’s glory above all.
And because of this, I can find hope and joy in my weaknesses and difficulties.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -2 Cor 12:10