Finding Strength through Weakness
It seems as though many, many people are going through trials these days. And not little trials, but big trials. My personal prayer list is growing daily, and those I am praying for are not experiencing light obstacles, but many, life threatening ones. Complete cardiac arrest, a life threatening accident, strokes, heart attacks. I often worry when I begin to pray that I will forget someone because the list is growing so fast.
I was thinking about how God would respond. What would He say to my friends who are struggling; what would God say to my own family who is experiencing challenges? I recently heard someone who is not a Christian telling a Christian woman “just stay strong...no matter what stay strong,” after her husband was placed in intensive care with a life threatening issue.
I understood what the person meant, and I could tell it was truly a heart felt effort to strengthen this woman, but the problem is the advice wasn’t Biblical, not completely.
Yes, God does call His people to be strong...Joshua 1:9 is the verse that comes to mind immediately when I think of “staying strong:” “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed...”
But...the second half of this verse is where we hear the missing piece of advice that was not given to this woman who was hurting: “...for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
That’s what I believe God would want my friends who are hurting right now to know, this is also what God has been speaking to my own “challenged” heart this morning. “Stand strong dear weak one, but find your strength not in yourself, find it instead through complete surrender of your pain, your confusion, your worry...give it ALL to me and allow My strength to see you through your weakest and darkest moments.”
This world doesn’t allow for weakness, but God does. The current philosophies without God at the center tell us: to be strong, to find our “inner strength,” to “dig deep,” and to never give up. Those are all pretty good, but God goes a step further; He goes much deeper.
God tells us to surrender ALL to Him, and let Him carry our burden. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 He is telling His children “it is OK to be “weak,” and to have moments where you feel completely incapable, and to accept that through Him you WILL be able to persevere.
God tells us to not trust our own “inner (human-finite) strength,” but to rely on His infinite, never-ending supply. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10. “[God’s] grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
And God tells us that once we surrender everything to Him, the only One who is able to carry our load, and who can bring something good out of the most trying circumstances (Romans 8:28) that He is able to bring about the victory and the healing in our lives and in our trying ordeal. (1 Corinthians 15:57, Romans 8:37, Philippians 4:13)
“For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” Deuteronomy 20:4
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand!” Ephesians 6:10-13
For those who are facing big challenges today, yes stay strong, but allow your weak and tried soul to admit it’s weakness, and to feel your need—and then ask for the true, lasting strength that can be ONLY be found through Christ!