Weakness: Our Unlikely Ally

If you want to turn the world’s wisdom on its head completely, this is it. The Apostle Paul says he will boast about his weaknesses (2 Cor. 12:9). We do not boast of weaknesses; we hide them because they hold us back from being who we should be. They threaten our competence. They are faults and defects. Instead, we boast of accomplishments, skills, talents, and abilities, but biblical wisdom says this is backward.

Weaknesses, we all have them. From illnesses to physical handicaps. From weak minds to weak knees. Some have speech impediments, anxiety disorders, melancholy, and poverty. There is not a single believer who does not struggle with something, but when was the last time we celebrated them? When was the last time we looked at our vulnerabilities and said, “what a blessing! These things cause Christ’s light to shine in my life more than my strengths.”

We often fail to understand that our weaknesses are our unlikely allies because we forget our purpose in life. Or we, if we do know our calling, we forget how to fulfill it best. Our chief end in life is to glorify God and enjoy him forever (WSC). We bring glory to the Lord not by showing the world how strong we are but by showing them his strength. It is in our weaknesses that God’s strength is most clearly seen.

Chronic illness, you continuously bring me low, but I have seen the Lord work through you to draw me close to his side. Some days, I have been so weak that I trembled as I stood to handle my responsibilities, and I have seen God more glorified in those moments than in my health as the Lord gave me strength. Anxiety, you plague me every time I try to speak for Christ, but the Lord has used you to make my voice tremble into the hearts of the hearers as they look away from me, yet still hear your word.

I realize it is not the weakness itself that is the blessing, for it is often a messenger of Satan to buffet us. We should desire that they be overcome rather than wallow in them. However, it also keeps us from trusting in ourselves and causes us to lean on our Savior. Our strengths have never driven us to our knees in humble prayer; it is our infirmities. The eyes of the Lord do not look to and fro throughout the earth to point out our strength. He scans to see who depends upon him and shows himself strong on their behalf (2 Chron. 16:9). Our desire is that God overcomes them, not us.

Jacob limped the rest of his life after wrestling with God at the Jabbock, and that limp signified the power of God for generations to come. Therefore, I will boast of my weaknesses because God makes no mistakes in His providences. Countless Christians speak life into the souls of hurting people because they, too, have struggled with weakness and, in those infirmities, have found God’s grace to be enough.

Thank you, Lord, for the sovereignly designed weaknesses in our lives. Not one of them is a mistake. These fissures and cracks in our jars of clay allow the treasure of your Holy Spirit inside to become visible to the world. Please help us to see them as your gifts.

-D. Eaton

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

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