Being Made Perfect in Weakness

July 8, 2018

What does it mean to be weak?  With all of the talk of bullying we have come to realize there are many aspects of weakness, many ways it is defined. But at its core, what does it mean to be weak?  Some would look at it from a numbers aspect, for example, how many pounds can you bench press?  Others might look at it as test scoring on the ACT or one’s grade average.  We rank teams based on wins.  Some might say the Cub’s bullpen or hitting is weak on a given day, others might say the entire Sox team is weak. Personal weakness and strength find a different way of dominating one’s life.  We at an early age are taught to work through and accept our weaknesses and build up and develop our strengths.

It is important to note that weakness does not mean failure.  Weakness does not mean being nonproductive.  In the life of St. Paul weakness is a developed skill that allows him to see God’s goodness in all aspects of his life.  Weakness is a developed skill.  When he says “when I am weak, then I am strong”, he is not stating this because he lost the race, was the fastest or the smartest or most perfect in beauty.  This comes from a reliance on God.  Each and every one of us lives with a battle of strength and weakness in our personal life.  It is the difference between what we thought life would be and what it is; who we thought we would become and who we are.  How we deal with this battle determines our faith journey.  It determines how we see God.

In her book The Choice, Dr. Edith Eva Eger points out “how easily the life we didn’t live becomes the only life we prize”.  We envision ourselves as wholly fantastic in every way.  Youth value instant gratification, social happiness and acceptance.  It is always in the tension of what youthful life is and what it is not.  Paul invites us to look at the areas of what it isn’t as a gift.  Can we look at the choices of our lives and see the gift of our mistakes, see the chasm of doubt and find a reliance on God?  Can I look at fear of failure which froze me as a high school student and prevented me from trying out for the baseball team as a true treasure that led me to cross country and a lifetime of running?  Can I look at the sins in my life and allow them to bring me to a reliance on God’s forgiveness.  Can I see the burden of what I haven’t done as a sure indication that is truly what God wanted? 

This deep thinking goes beyond our definition of weakness.  It goes beyond our thoughts of what strength is.  This goes to the question of reliance.  Do we trust God enough to rely on Him?   Do we trust God enough when our own gifts and talents are not enough?  Do we trust our inadequacies to be the very place where God works through the cracks and crevices of our lives to make a true difference, a difference only He can provide?  Can we believe this?  When we are weak, we are strong, when we realize we cannot go it alone, God can take over.

Can we give up all of the control and let Him?

Reverend John J. Ouper