We have a little granddaughter, Hannah, who was born in September 2020, our first grandbaby. She is an absolute delight. As I am writing this, Hannah is just over six months old, and already starting to show little signs of independence, and of asserting her will. She loves pumpkin but is definitely not a fan of avocado. Bath time is fun, but washing her face always has her protesting with loud wails of dissatisfaction. We love seeing Hannah growing and reaching the little developmental milestones. However, I must confess that the times that are most precious to me, as her granny, are when she cuddles into me, ready to nap, or leans into me, needing some reassurance or love. There is something about her vulnerability, the fact that she needs me and wants to be near me, that simply melts my heart.
The world we live in today applauds strength, independence, assertiveness, and power. We learn from a young age that success is rewarded, and only the best efforts are recognised and affirmed. We tend to bring this ‘performance mentality’ into our relationship with the Lord, thinking that He will only be able to use us greatly when have proved ourselves to be capable, efficient and strong, and when we have it all together.
I don’t know about you, but, even though I have been a child of God for most of my life, I do not ‘have it all together’ all the time. I often feel weak and inadequate for what God has called me to do. Some days I feel overwhelmed by the demands of life and ministry, and really vulnerable, but I have come to realise that, just as in the case of my little granddaughter, God loves it when I choose to simply lean into Him and rest in His strength, in those times when I feel weak. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 the Lord tells us that His power works best in weakness, when we are unable to ‘perform’ in our own strength.
There are many accounts in Scripture where people found themselves in a place of lack or weakness, and saw God do the impossible. One such account is from the book of Judges. Gideon came from weakest clan in Manasseh and was the least in his own family. He was the most unlikely candidate to head up the great exploit of saving God’s people from the Midianites. Yet God called him a ‘mighty man of valour’, even before he left that winepress he was hiding in. God told him, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14). It was as if God was saying, “Gideon, just give me the little bit of strength you have. Trust me with your weakness, and I will do the rest” (my paraphrase). God gave Gideon a very unusual battle strategy and downsized his army from 22,000 to only 300 men ‘or Israel would boast against me, “My own strength has saved me.”’ So, as Gideon obeyed the Lord, God brought about a great victory for Israel. His weakness and inadequacies allowed God’s strength to shine, and this brought peace to the land of Israel for forty years.
When the apostle Paul wrote the passage in 2 Corinthians12, he was speaking of a ‘thorn’ in his flesh, something that caused him to feel weak, and which God chose not to remove from Him. God told Him, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” Paul understood that surrendering his weakness to God, by leaning into His grace, would make room for God’s power to work through him.
I’ve realised that, just as I love those times when little Hannah cuddles into me or needs my reassurance and love, God delights in us leaning into Him when we feel inadequate and weak. He loves to ‘show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him’ (2 Chronicles 16:9, AMPC). So, just like the apostle Paul, I will be ‘glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.’
Prayer: Thank You, Father, that You know me completely. Thank You that You delight in all You created me to be, and that my weaknesses are no surprise to You. Lord, I surrender to You all my feelings of inadequacy and of not feeling enough. I lean into You, Father, and ask that Your power will work in and through me to bring glory to Your name. Amen.
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