Learning to embrace God’s strength in our weakness is not something that happens overnight. It is also something that does not happen during the happy times of our life. These lessons are learned through tears and heartache, loneliness and depression, and anxiety and fear.
The wonderful news is that we have hope. Our hope becomes reality when we realize we are not walking through the trials of life alone. Allowing God to perfect His strength through our weakness brings us on a journey that teaches us more than we could ever imagine.
By drawing close to God and leaning into His grace and love, we discover our creator, the lover of our soul, and our lives are forever changed. We will never be the same nor do we want to be. We can fully embrace God’s call for our strength to be made perfect in weakness.
God’s Strength in our Weakness
I was talking to a sweet friend last week. Like all of us, she has struggled with her own heartaches. She has one living child, but has experienced years of miscarriages and infertility.
It is a hard mountain to climb. I know many of you are nodding your heads right now. To want a baby so badly that it reaches down into every aspect of your life, replacing what should be joy with a deep longing. You are in good Biblical company. The stories of Hannah and Sarah are just as relatable today as they were centuries ago.
I have never struggled with infertility myself. In 9 years I had 5 healthy pregnancies. But I know what it means to want something so badly that it consumes your thoughts. I know what it means to cry because you want to hold your daughter and you can’t- not this side of heaven.
I mentioned to her how I’m still having a lot of trouble being around people. My anxiety climbs higher with each acquaintance, friend, and stranger I encounter. She mentioned that she was with a group of friends recently and one of them announced they were pregnant.
You know how us ladies are. Babies are beautiful and the anticipation of a new one to hold, smile at, and fuss over in the group makes everyone excited. She said she fought the urge to get up and leave. Of course she did!
The Bible is full of women experiencing the pain of an empty womb. If this is your struggle, check out my Mothers of the Bible Series. You will gain strength and encouragement from these amazing women.
Strength Made Perfect in Weakness: Acceptance
So, I’ve told you all of this because I understood something incredible as I was later pondering our conversation. I was thinking about the power of acceptance. She is not the first of my friends who have confided in me that they have been forced to accept the fact that they would not have a house full of children.
Maybe our weaknesses remain weaknesses because we cling to them tightly and refuse to accept them.
Strength Made Perfect in Weakness: My Story
I have made some progress in accepting my daughter’s death so I understand it is not something that comes easily-or naturally. It is something won through tears and pain.
If I accepted Rebekah’s death, would I stop feeling as if I’m being stabbed when someone complains about their teenage daughter, knowing that my Rebekah will never be that age? If my friend accepts her situation, will she be able to rejoice with her pregnant friends without wishing it was her?
I don’t think so.
Accepting gives one a sense of peace, but it would be asking too much to completely erase such intense feelings.
Perhaps those intense feelings remain to be used by God.
(I must confess that I wrote that above section years ago. I am more mature now, my faith is stronger, and while my heart still longs for my daughter, I have accepted the pain of the thorn. I can testify that the intense feelings are intended to be used by God and He is able to bring beauty from ashes when we give it to Him.)
My Strength is Made Perfect in Weakness Meaning
Paul talks about a thorn in his flesh and how he prayed three times that God would remove it. Now, remember who Paul was. He performed miracle after miracle. He witnessed the hand of God and the saving grace of Jesus thousands of times.
This was not your every day Joe struggling through life. If anyone was to pray and achieve results, it would be Paul. Yet, God refused to take away that thorn in his flesh. Why?
“And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)
Is it possible that even a great man of faith like Paul had to be reminded that his strength comes from God and God alone?
How often have I struggled on my own? How often does my independent nature take over and try to instruct God rather than simply follow? Do we reject the pain in our lives in an effort to remain secure in our own ways?
What if we accept the struggle knowing that God’s strength is being made perfect in our weakness? Get this! The struggle would no longer be a struggle because God’s strength is carrying us through.
What a beautiful idea. God reaches down in our weakness and picks us up! He provides the strength we need to make it through our struggles. He doesn’t take them away, but He carries us through!
Back up a minute. I said we would still feel twinges of pain. Like Paul’s thorn, those twinges must remain because they keep us constantly seeking out God’s strength.
We weren’t meant to live on this earth alone. We were created to be in constant contact with our creator. Can you think of anything that brings us closer to God than having a strong need?
My Strength is Made Perfect in Weakness: How to Go About It
So then, how do you give God your weakness? I believe it comes in steps.
- Grieve your weakness. Whatever your weakness looks like, allow yourself to cry and experience the painful emotions necessary to heal.
- Don’t underestimate the power of acceptance. When we accept our hurt, we can go to God with it. God has not forsaken you in your hurt, He is simply standing by your side waiting for you. He cannot help you if you do not hand Him your pain.
- Don’t take it back. Yes, the triggers will come. Yes, you will hurt, but leave it at the feet of Jesus. Don’t take it back when the emotions sweep over you.
- Accept God’s strength. When we give our weakness to Jesus, he surrounds us with strength. Our weakness is then used for his glory. His light shines brighter through us. We can reach out a hand to our neighbor and say, “my God strengthened me and He can you too!”.
One Last Word on God’s Strength in Our Weakness
This is my wish for you, dear friends, that you take a look at your struggles and make a decision. Will you continue to struggle or will you allow this “thorn” to bring you to God’s strength? Are you ready to proclaim Paul’s words “My strength is made perfect in weakness”?
I pray this takes you one step closer to learning how to embrace God’s strength in our weakness and allow Him to use it for His glory.
My friend, Wendy, from One Exceptional Life has an encouraging post with 16 Bible verses for overcoming struggles. Check it out and save it for those days when your weaknesses are winning.
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