Church planting training in Missouri taught me so much about how God works. While learning about how God works and what He uses to rapidly multiply His church across the earth, I have seen how my sin can very easily get in the way. One of the areas that God has been working on my heart in is how I respond to weakness both in myself and others.
I have found that I distain weakness. I shy away from things when I think that I might fail, and when other people are weaker or more fearful than I expect them to be I do not respond in compassion. When people are afraid, and don’t move forward despite the fear, I wonder why they don’t just suck it up and do whatever it is that they are afraid of. I found my self frustrated a few times at my training because of of my uncompromising view of weakness. I realized that I lacked empathy for those who were struggling and that I would become frustrated with myself when I preformed less than perfectly.
This view of weakness though is far from Biblical though. Paul speaks to weakness and how God uses it in his letters to the church at Corinth.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things– the things that are not– to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
2 Corinthians 11:30 If I boast I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why 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.
Most of the time though I don’t believe that I am strongest when I am weak. I try to power through and do things on my own instead of relying on God. I have prided myself in being considered “strong” by others. Ultimately, it is my pride that keeps me from being able to show weakness in myself and accept weakness in others.
God keeps on asking me if I want to do things for my own glory or for His– in my own feeble power or in his awesome might. He is asking me over and over again if I am willing to humble myself so that He might be exhalted. He has slowly but steadily been training me in humility for the past seven years so that I will be usable in ministry. He keeps on pointing out further levels of pride in my heart that I didn’t even know existed. Thankfully, He is gentle and kind as He convicts me of the sin in my heart.
I know that it will be an ongoing process of learning how to rejoice in weakness, but I’m excited for that journey because I trust the one who has declared that when I am weak, I am strong in him.