The Strength of Weakness
7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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. 10 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.- 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10
When you have a weakness, your first desire is to replace the weakness – or completely avoid it. You wish the weakness was not there, because it disrupts “where you are going.” A weakness makes your zero sum mind think are you less equipped. It makes you rationalize how much more strong in certain areas you need to be in order to reach your optimal performance.
Most of our prayers are: “Dear Lord, please bring a miracle and take _____ away. Please give me ___ so that I will be able to do what you require of me.” We may not be praying or asking this overtly, but our hearts tend to lean in this direction. We typically are using no faith when we give God tips on how things should be done.
The passage above the picture of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (which by the way is the game MJ had the flu and couldn’t even walk by himselft; Pippen had to carry him off the court; MJ scored 38 points that game to beat Utah in the Eastern Conference Finals) is quite shocking. You would think God would remove our obstacles. You would think we are supposed to pray to seek strength. It is an unusual thing that God does not desire a removal of weakness. It is strange that He would have us deal with the weakness – to manage it – in such a way where He can carry us in spite of it.
When we have weaknesses, we have to wrestle with the fact that we will be used in spite of them. Our weaknesses in themselves do not make us strong. It is the overwhelming presence of God that makes us strong. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. This means that His power requires us to be weak, if we want to see perfect power. We all get opportunties in our lifetime to see things that happen outside of ourselves. This means we had nothing to do with the outcome. Whether you believe a God exists, or think it peculiar that people believe in things they cannot understand, you have experienced extraordinary things – or at least have heard of them from reliable sources.
The greatest things I have accomplished or seen happen in my life have resulted in zero striving. This means I did not do anything to deserve, earn, or attain it. The thing just happened. It did not happen out of the blue necessarily. But it happened without my interference. Once you experience these things, you begin to realize your role in important matters. You realize how significantly insignficant you are, but are compelled by deep significance at the same time. When you can do things outside of your strengths, you realize that this world and the things in it are not about you. When powerful things happen in spite of your weakness, you can not only visualize the Creator – but you can trace His hand in almost every event. Many people call this over-spiritualization. One day we may realize how we under-spiritualized almost everything – even the things we thought we over-spiritualized.
Power is not the absence of weakness. It is the presence of weakness, with the infusion of God. When I tore my ACL, I remember being worried that I wouldn’t be as explosive on stage. This was my main concern. I felt I could not give my best energy moving forward. This will forever be a weakness of mine. We’ll see how it goes. We’ll see how I do. You can all watch with me. Your guess is as good as mine. This blog is so we can all smile together when His grace proves sufficient – as a living testimony to His greatness.
I’m weak. He’s strong. Not sure how everything else works. I just know it does. Peace, and much love to you – Jeevo.
“That was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done,” he would say after the game. “I almost played myself into passing out just to win a basketball game. If we had lost, I would have been devastated.” Jackson was almost at a loss for words, but finally told the media, “Because of the circumstances, with this being a critical game in the Finals, I’d have to say this is the greatest game I’ve seen Michael play. Just standing up was nauseating for him and caused him dizzy spells. This was a heroic effort, one to add to the collection of efforts that make up his legend.”