As Weak as Our Strongest Link
"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." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
One day I tweeted, "We are only as weak as our strongest link." It wasn't a typo. It's something I've been thinking about for a while now.
Often the Bible talks in counter-intuitive statements. Different than the normal flow. An unexpected rub against the grain.
To gain, you must give up.
If someone takes your jacket, give them your shoes too.
When we are weak, then we are strong.
Tough stuff. Good stuff. Heart-protecting stuff.
The minute I start feeling absolutely confident in my own strength is the minute I am desperately weak ... and I don't even realize it.
The Lord reminded me of this right before I stepped on stage to speak to 4,500 women at a large conference. One minute I was walking backstage to get my microphone on and the next minute I was on the ground with my face pressed into the cement floor.
My heel had gotten caught in a crack in the floor and that's all it took to bring me down.
My first thoughts were not spiritual.
Have mercy, I've probably split my pants wide open and there is no time to change!
I quickly picked myself up, put on the over-ear microphone, and went on stage. I felt so vulnerable.
Inside my head I whispered, Lord, I'm not ready. I don't want to speak right now. I want to go crawl in a hole with a mirror so I can check my pants! I tried as discretely as possible to make sure the seams in my pants were in tact.
My heart drummed wildly in my chest as I prayed, Jesus, I am completely desperate for You.
And I imagine the Lord thought, Good. She's ready. Now, this is going to be powerful.
I'd left my strength, confidence and self-sufficiency back on that concrete floor. Next to the crack that tripped me up. And my weakness made room for God's strength to take over.
My weakness wasn't what could have messed me up that day. It was my strength.
We are only as weak as our strongest link. Sometimes it's not our weaknesses that leave us vulnerable to attack. It's our strengths. Those places where we feel especially confident, invincible, and quite able. But, as a friend reminded me recently, "Our strengths can become strongholds if we're not careful."
When Paul pleaded with the Lord to remove the thorn in his flesh—the thing that made Paul feel weak—the Lord did not. Instead, the Lord reminded Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9a NIV).
Paul took hold of this truth and went on to conclude in verse 10, "For when I am weak, then I am strong" (12:10b NIV). Which leads me to wonder if the opposite is also true ... where I am strong, then I am weak.
I'm making a conscious effort to stay in tune with what strengths might easily trip me up. Really doing some soul-searching. Praying. Listening for direction and correction. Then, walking in complete faith. Because if we're going to call ourselves people of faith, we must live lives that require faith. For me this means accepting my weaknesses rather than boasting in my strengths.
Faith is like walking over a bridge, where we cross over from relying on our strength to God's strength. It's a powerful walk to take.
However, I really wouldn't recommend wearing high-heeled shoes.
Dear Lord, reveal to me the places where I'm relying on my own power instead of Yours. Show me what strengths could be my biggest weaknesses, God, so that I can learn to serve You better. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
What strength could easily trip you up today? Ask God to give you spiritual ears to hear any direction or correction He whispers.
What would it look like to exchange your weakness for God's strength?
Ephesians 6:10, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." (NIV)
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