The pain crept in slowly, but by the time I laid my head on the pillow, I was nearly in tears. It wasn’t only the stiff throbbing that had settled again in my neck and shoulders.
It was the fear that I would be forced to go back in time and relive the ten years of daily chronic pain and thought patterns that accompanied it.
Christopher prayed for me, and the next day I felt so much better. But when the pain started to sneak back the following day, I was ready to start paying more attention to my limitations and take the physical, mental, and spiritual rest that I needed to find relief from the pain.
Why would God want to use someone so. . . weak?
In our culture, women are supposed to be able to do it all–hold a job, raise children, work out at the gym, cook and eat healthy meals (from their own garden), and still find time for relationships.
As believers, we don’t only want to keep our children alive, but we want to shepherd their hearts. We want to respect and bless our husbands. We want to serve as members of the Body of Christ. We want to engage with people on a heart level and pray for their needs.
If we were stronger and had more stamina, wouldn’t we be able to do more for God?
Boasting About Weakness
In 2 Corinthians 11:16-12:10, Paul talks about all the hardships he endured for the sake of the gospel. (think prison, floggings, stonings, and shipwrecks)
He could have gone around telling people how he’d stood strong in his suffering and was still doing the Lord’s work.
He could have told people that they should be able to do it all, too.
But in His infinite wisdom and love, God gave Paul a thorn in his flesh. He begged for God to take it away, but he received an answer better than healing.
He received a new perspective.
” But [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8)
When our strength, efficiency, and accomplishments are taken off like layers of a ball gown and we stand there shivering in our undergarments, there is still Someone who can never be removed because He lives inside of us.
The God who designed each galaxy and forms every one of the billions of cells in every person on the planet chose to send His Son to pay for our sins, so that He could dwell in us and do beautiful works through us.
After Job lost everything and was sitting in the dust, scraping at his sores, he said, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him .” (Job 13:15) By the end of the book, he knew the power of the God he served. “My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:5)
Maybe you were up all night with the baby, your husband came home from work discouraged, and when you finally sat down to read a novel, a friend called who needed encouragement.
Maybe you feel you have nothing left to give.
Or maybe it’s just a constant stream of daily tasks and responsibilities that seem manageable when you look at each day separately, but as the weeks go by, the water pressure keeps carving out a canyon in your heart.
The Shortest Prayer
If you look at God’s redemption story, woven from Genesis to Revelation, you can see that one of God’s deepest desires is for us to look to Him.
So when you don’t know what to say to yourself or others, try praying this: “Jesus.”
You can even whisper it if you’re in the middle of Walmart or holding a sleeping baby.
And then the Spirit may give you a few more words. Maybe just two: “Jesus, help!”
When we let our Father take charge, we allow His power to work through us whenever He chooses. We don’t try to work ourselves to death trying to make it happen.
God used a barren woman to birth a nation.
God used a shy murderer to lead a people out of slavery in Egypt.
God used a teenage girl to raise the Messiah.
He didn’t have to use them. But when he did, there could be no doubt Who was doing the work.
So why does God bother to use humans at all?
Because He’s crazy about us. He created us in His image and calls us His children. (Romans 8)
Right now, Christopher and I are celebrating each new word Isaiah learns. We can’t stop laughing when he sees a toy and shouts, “Awesome!” or drops something in his bib and says, “Oh, shoot.”
Don’t you think the Father who knit our bones and muscles together might feel the same way about us?
As we spend time in His Word and in prayer (including the one word ones), He’ll show us what to spend our energy on. As we let Him into all our weak areas, He may not fill us with strength. But it may open the way for something better–a deeper intimacy with Him.
Are you in?
12 thoughts on “When Your Weakness is Beautiful”
What a timely post for me to read. Thank you for the encouragement and Truth. And wow, Isaiah is getting so big!
You are so welcome! Isaiah truly is turning into a little boy before my very eyes. What happened to my baby? 🙂
You wrote: “Maybe you feel you have nothing left to give.”
It’s so interesting because over many years, I have seen this as a pattern (I say this humbly and cautiously, not presuming to know all of God’s workings) of God using me at the moments when I feel mentally or physically the weakest. And I always thought, you’re kidding, right, God? Do you remember the day I just had? Do you know how exhausted I am? How can I help someone right now?
I’m convinced that He does this with the purpose of demonstrating the greatness and prowess of His divine power over our tiny, fleeting human strength.
Afterwards, I’d just shake my head and think, wow, God, I can’t believe you did that. It’s amazing what YOU did. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer, and for your comment. What a great God we serve! (If only I could always remember that.)
I needed to hear these words. Thanks for your authenticity, Alicia. I love reading what you write!
Thanks, Lydia. It’s such a gift to know I’m not alone.
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