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Being Weak Is Being Strong

Apr 30/2020

Wade
Gardiner

I recently read a great article by author Marshall Segal and so I have adapted some of his material from that article to share with you today.

How about this for a statement:

We discover where we really find our strength not when we feel strong, but when we feel weak.

Exhaustion and frustration, perhaps loneliness and fear or anger and resentment, all things that people might be struggling with in isolation, have a way of blowing away the fog, revealing what’s really happening inside of us:

Have we been leaning on God for all that we need, or have we made his help, his strength, his guidance a kind of last resort?

Many of us are more self-reliant than we would admit…

Psalm 147:10-11

10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
    in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Our delight is often in the strength of our legs — our work ethic, our perseverance, our cleverness, our strategies.

And that temptation touches every part of life — at work, in ministry, at home — because every part of life in a fallen world requires strength.

But God is not pleased by all that we can do — unless we do all that we do in his strength, and not our own.

Rejoice in All He Can Do

Psalm 147 models how to expose and unravel the lies of pride with the strength and authority of God.

The psalm says that God alone places each cloud in the sky.

Psalm 147:8

He covers the heavens with clouds;
    he prepares rain for the earth;
    he makes grass grow on the hills.

He chooses when, where, and how much rain will fall, and he tends every millimeter of every blade of grass.

God alone crafts every snowflake that falls, fashions every inch of frost, and decides just how cold it will be (Psalm 147:16–17).

Every aspect of our winters is scripted and conducted by him, including precisely when they end (Psalm 147:18).

God alone feeds the elephants, the sharks, the squirrels, and even the ants (Psalm 147:9). When newborn birds whimper in hunger, he hears each faint cry.

God alone can count every star in the universe (Psalm 147:4) — and not only count them, but decide their number and give them each a name.

God alone heals the wounds of the broken-hearted (Psalm 147:3).

Very few are ever tempted to think we ourselves could bring rain, make snow, or count the stars, but we might be tempted to think we could heal a broken heart.

We might imagine we could compensate for someone’s loss, or talk someone out of despair, or save someone from themselves…

But Psalm 147 says that God is the healing one.

God alone makes peace (Psalm 147:14). We cannot achieve real peace — in families or friendships, in a church or a nation — unless God quiets the conflict and awakens harmony. If we think we can achieve peace without God, we have not understood peace, or God.

“Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:5).

Our power is small and often failing, but his power is abundant and never exhausted. Our understanding is extremely limited and often flawed, but his understanding is universal and inscrutable. Why would we ever rely on ourselves?

The apostle Paul knew how weak he was and where to find true strength. When he pleaded with God to remove the thorn that plagued him, God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Why would God, in infinite, fatherly love for Paul, not spare him the pain and inconvenience of this weakness? Because our weakness welcomes the gracious strength and intervention of God.

Weakness welcomes grace. When we feel strong, we are not prone to rely on the grace and strength of God. We often begin to experience, and even enjoy, the delusion that we are strong. We forget God, and our need for him. But when we feel our weakness, we more fully experience reality — and we remember our tremendous, continual need for him. The intensity of our thorns unearths the depths of his grace and mercy. Without them, we would only play in the wading pools of grace, instead of exploring the endless storehouses God fills and keeps for us.

As Paul says earlier in the same letter, “We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). If you look strong in your own strength, very few will wonder how you are so strong.

But if people watch you walk through intense or persistent weakness and adversity, with strength, humility, faith and even joy, then God will look unmistakably strong in you.

So, to the extent that you are weak, to that extent will you magnify the awesome height of his power and love.

And I close on…

We have done nothing good apart from God who did it through us. 

Psalm 84:5

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion”

- Original article by Marshall Segal, staff writer for desiringgod.org

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