Uplift – May 26, 2017

Posted on Posted in Friday Uplift

but he said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ;
for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Cor 12:9-10

Last week I talked about how we’re strong and unstoppable with God’s armor covering us and protecting us …it’s what helps us stay standing in the world.
And that’s still true.
But this week, I want to talk about weakness.
Specifically, how we don’t like it, but how God does.
When you think about your life, when are/were the times you turned to God?
When everything was great?
When you got that dream job or married your person?
When you had a healthy result at your physical?
I’m guessing not right?
Most of us, if we’re honest, don’t call on God during the good times.
The times we call on God most often are the opposite usually.
When we aren’t feeling the strongest.
When we’ve gotten bad news,
When we’ve lost a loved one.
We turn to God in the hardest moments of our lives.
Or, if you’re like me, you turn to God when you’ve tried ALL the other options and none of them have worked out.
Tried to fight on my own? Yep.
Pretending everything was fine? Done that.
Talked about it with anyone who would listen? That too.
Blamed God and ignored God as my punishment for what was happening? Oh yes.
We don’t like to be weak.
We honor those who power through and get over and muscle in.
We say things like “Pain is weakness leaving the body” and “weakness is a choice” to encourage people to fight harder and do more.
But in the life of faith, weakness has a place. An important place.
Also, pain isn’t weakness leaving the body, it’s a feeling you get when things aren’t the way they are supposed to be.
Pain is the result of injury, physical or emotional. And, sure, after the pain heals, strength usually follows, but sometimes it’s just pain. So stop. (Ok, let me just climb down off of my soapbox here)
And I think God wants us to know weakness is ok.
That it can be as celebrated as strength.
It’s when we’re weak, when we’re suffering, when we’re at the bottom,
that’s when we tend to come to God for help.
And while God doesn’t like that we’re feeling this way,
God also knows that it’s just in these moments where God’s grace and love and strength can be felt best.

Paul writes in this letter to the Corinthians that he had this pain that wouldn’t go away, and God told him that God’s grace is enough. God’s grace is what makes us strong.
Paul’s response?
It is in weaknesses that I am strong.

Oooof that is so hard and so amazing.
Because God said that it is OUR weakness that makes GOD’S power perfect.
A more literal translation of the Greek there says that God’s power isn’t complete until it is joined with our weakness. Isn’t that so beautiful?
It is in our weakness that we see God’s grace is enough.
See, in these verses, even though he had been complaining and struggling to understand why his pain didn’t go away, Paul finally understood that God does the best work when we don’t have the strength to do any more.
When we think we’re at the end of our rope, God gives us something to hang onto.
When we think we can’t possibly see in all the darkness within us and around us, God sheds a little light.
We’ve all got things in our lives that can only be overcome with God.
Sure, we’ll keep trying to get it handled by ourselves, I mean, we’re still US,
but the good news,
maybe the best news for those of us exhausted from the fight,
is that the moment we give up on doing it on our own is the moment God is just getting started.