When it’s better to be weak than strong

The following is a journal entry I wrote in May on Mother’s Day:

Today was Mother’s Day and I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck.

After using all my energy to sit up, I asked my nine-year-old if she’d be willing to bring me cereal in bed because it was, after all, Mother’s Day. “Mother’s DAY?!” She had apparently forgotten. I reminded her that she had made me a card earlier in the week and it was waiting, unopened, on my dresser.

Her panic subsided. She brought me Rice Chex and a card.

We made it to church and I settled into the kindergarten classroom where I was serving that day. “Are you feeling okay?” my friend whispered, as she dropped her child off. “Not really. There are SEVEN things wrong with my body right now.” I proceeded to list off my ailments: a mouth sore, a throbbing hip and everything in between.

“I’ll pray for you,” she mouthed.

Sixteen children filed into the room. The other volunteer was set to teach that morning and I glanced down at the curriculum to see what we’d be talking about. Gideon. God used Gideon’s weakness for His glory. And I smiled. It only seemed fitting.

We reviewed the previous lesson, played some introductory games and then talked about Gideon.

Gideon had been the youngest, weakest family member from the weakest tribe of Israel. Despite this fact, God called him a mighty warrior. As the Lord selected Gideon’s army to fight the Midianites, He purposefully whittled it down from 32,000 to 300 (see Judges 6-8).

Towards the end of class, we munched on pretzel fish, and I asked the children what they had learned. A sweet, little girl in a purple dress and silver tennis shoes shot her hand up. “It’s better to be weak than to be strong.”

I started to correct her line of reasoning, but before I said anything, I paused. Was this seven year old actually right?

I just stared at her, and she stared back, waiting for my response.

“I mean…I guess.” Clearly, I was wrestling with this theological truth. “I mean, we should try to be the best that we can be…but…” I was stumbling. I didn’t necessarily like where this was going.

I had, after all, been praying to feel STRONGER for the past 10 days.

But, if this was true, why was I resisting it? After all, didn’t the Lord say to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee. For my power is made perfect in weakness?” Paul had asked for his troubles to be removed so that he could be stronger…and the Lord responded, “no.”

Paul conceded, stating, “Most gladly therefore will I rather GLORY in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I TAKE PLEASURE in weaknesses, in injuries…for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, than am I strong.”

Paul seemed to find contentment in the fact that He was weak.

And, seven hours after children’s church has ended, I agree with that little girl.

God’s glorious power is most evident when displayed in our weakness. Just because we are vessels doesn’t mean we are always strong and never broken. In fact, we should rejoice when we’re brought to our end. Then God, not us, will get the glory because His strength will be so obvious in our weakness!

So, this weakness? I see it now…it’s a gift. Of all the gifts I was given today, I have to say, this one has been the most surprising.

“Now we have this treasure in jars of clay so that this extraordinary power may be from GOD and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Published August 8, 2016