I simply think God is greater than our weakness.
In fact, I think it is our weakness that reveals how great God is.
The gift of memories can bring comfort and encouragement during a loss, but nothing can take the place of entering into the pain of loss. I have learned that the only way to lessen pain is to move toward it, not away from it. Wounds don’t just go away by ignoring them; they need attention and care. Loss exposes our vulnerability, reminding us that we are not in control. It reveals our loneliness, our insecurities, and our unfulfilled longings. Our losses remind us that “I am weak – but He is strong.”
BE LIKE DAVID
The Psalms show me how David confronted his limitations, called out to God, and begged for help. Overwhelmed, he pleaded with God to hear his cry, and he acknowledged that his heart felt faint. In his own way, David said, “I am weak but He is strong”. David asked God to lead him to the rock that was higher than himself (Psalm 61:1-3) When he despaired and felt abandoned, he questioned God about how long he would wrestle with his thoughts and sorrow (Psalm 13)
David’s ability to pour his heart out to God showed that he found his hope and comfort in God alone. His posture has encouraged me to be honest with God and permits me to be weak. After all, David is “a man after God’s own heart,” and this was not because he was strong in his flesh, that’s for sure. David knew his frame and where to go for help. The Bible says that God has compassion on those who fear Him, just as a father has compassion on his children. He made us from dust to depend on Him as children depend on their father. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
I knew our story of loss was something far more significant than me. Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I was in a frightening, unfamiliar place, and knew an enemy was out to destroy me. I could picture myself with eyes shut, clicking my heels together, and reciting, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home,” hoping to wake up and find myself safely back to the way things had been. But it was no dream. Compared to the task ahead of me, I was indeed weak. I was desperate and longed for the security and safety of my Heavenly Father’s arms.
JARS OF CLAY
Paul tells us we are earthen vessels, jars of clay that contain heavenly treasures. The Message puts it this way: “If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us” (2 Corinthians 4:7 MSG). The design and purpose of a pot was to hold something. Attention was to be drawn to its contents, not it’s appearance.
We are like a pot of clay, an earthen vessel, designed to shine God’s light in the darkness of our circumstances. We are meant to “display the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:6), which God desires to place inside of each of us to show others that any power is from Him alone. I know God wants people to see His power in my life, but, more than that, He wants me to see it because, of all people, I know my weaknesses.
As I continued and continue now, to consider the verses in Corinthians about being a clay pot carrying God’s message, most often I feel like Frodo, from “The Lord of the Rings”. Just a simple hobbit from Middle Earth, not particularly qualified for the task set before him, yet faced with no other choice. I feel that God has entrusted me with my story, although that insight fluctuates as often as my feelings. But for the most part, I feel chosen. Just as simple, ordinary hobbits were chosen for a great purpose, so are each of us in our own story of loss. Not because of our strength or wisdom though. It is just the opposite. We can be encouraged that God uses weak, ordinary people to display His power.
I have discovered that the Christian walk is a divine paradox. Often joy can only come through sorrow. Jesus experienced this more than any of us—for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross. Scripture speaks of the need to lose to gain, surrender to win, serve to rule, die to live and give to receive. In this case, weakness brings God’s strength. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
In the hobbits’ land of Middle Earth, they had their proverbs, stories, and sayings of the wise, just as God’s people do. God writes ours in His Word. The hobbits knew not to look within themselves for wisdom or hidden knowledge but to look at writings from times past. In my loss, I know I cannot draw from myself for wisdom and strength. I need to know God’s Word and depend on what He has already revealed. We are not strengthened in spite of our weaknesses, but because of them.
STRENGTH IN WEAKNESS
If I allow my weaknesses to open me to God’s power, I will become strong in Him. In 2 Corinthians 1:8, Paul wrote of being under great distress in Asia. So far beyond his ability to endure that he despaired even of life itself. He could not rely on himself but on God, who raises the dead. Paul spoke enthusiastically about God’s strength to deliver him in his time of immense weakness. “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him, we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:10, emphasis mine). That tells me how God covers every tense. His strength is in the past, present, and future.
I cannot help but see God’s display of strength in my life because of my weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. The Greek word for perfect primarily means “complete”. Therefore, when I am weak in myself, I am indeed strong in Him. The apostle Paul even wrote that he was under more distress than he was able to bear. My grief and sorrow have been much more than I can carry. I need God.
The hope is that God’s power works best in our weakness. It doesn’t work at all in our self-sufficiency; that only prolongs our struggle. We cannot receive His strength until we realize we have none. His strength only works in recognized weakness. The truth is, our weakness is the key to our strength just as our dependency is the key to our intimacy with Him. Unreservedly so.
Little ones to Him belong—they are weak, but He is strong! Ordinary jars of clay displaying the light of the knowledge of the glory of God because the excellency of the power is from God and NOT US.
Remember that you are eternally loved. There was no beginning and there will be no end to God’s love for you!
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