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Why Your Weakness is Actually a Place of Strength

I don’t like feeling weak. And for that reason, here’s a verse I love and hate. “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” ( 2 Cor. 12:10)   One, of the great mysteries of our lives i…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I don’t like feeling weak. And for that reason, here’s a verse I love and hate.

“For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” ( 2 Cor. 12:10)
 
One, of the great mysteries of our lives is to understand the truth in this passage. It’s a paradox – God equips us with weakness and uses that as a place of strength. How does that work? 
 
I think it works because when we are weak, we need God. We have the opportunity to depend on him. We have the chance to lean into him and invite him to be strong in our place of weakness. And in so doing, we have the chance for what we both want – greater intimacy.
 
Let me share with you areas in my life that I have felt weak of late and invite you to make your own list.
 
Getting sick: I had a cold that hung on for two weeks! I’m finally getting over it.
 
Our house: We needed expensive repairs to the upstairs. Karen and I lived like refugees on a mattress downstairs for months. And today the water pump needed to be fixed.
 
My role: Things are always changing at the office. I love the ministry God has given to us, but it’s best for everyone if I stay out of operations while still encouraging our staff. This is harder than it looks. I have had to pivot as a leader multiple times as the ministry has grown. I’ve had to study “How do I grow in my capacity to lead in this new place?”
 
Leah’s new job: We’re excited about the chance Leah has to get a new job stocking shelves at the local grocery store. The transition has challenges. Karen and I now have taxi duty – more responsibility!

 

My friends: So many of them struggle. Health issues. Marriage issues. I carry their struggles in my heart. And many of them live at a distance. I often feel alone and more isolated than I want to be.
 
In each of these areas where I feel weak, God has a chance to show up if I will lean into him and ask him for his grace. He loves it when I do that. It is what he is waiting for. In a way, it’s like me asking him to dance. He wants intimacy more than I do.
 
Where are you weak? Almost all of us have relationships where we need grace. And we have roles where we feel inadequate. There are resources we lack.
 
Let me encourage you to read 2 Cor. 12:9-10. Paul says that God’s power is made perfect in his weakness.
 
In America, we belong to a cult of power and worship at the altar of strength. “Everybody loves a winner” we say. We elect powerful politicians. We climb career ladders. The result? We substitute our power for God’s power and we don’t need God.
 
It’s cultish behavior and looks nothing like Jesus.
 
Jesus began his ministry by describing how it’s the weak who are blessed. I think it’s because they need God and are therefore motivated to move toward intimacy.
 
Where are you weak? Make an inventory. Then, consider Jesus’ point that that is where you are actually strong if you will just invite God to do what you cannot. 
 
It’s a good thing to live in a weak place.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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