God woke me up in the middle of the night recently. The Apostle Paul’s words, written in his letter to the Corinthians, “for when I am weak, then I am strong” suddenly came to me and I couldn’t stop thinking more about what this means. I had to get up and write things down.
For a little context, I’m in a place of weakness right now, in a place of need. If I’m honest, I don’t like the idea of being weak or needy as it makes me feel vulnerable. It also means I have less control over my immediate circumstances. But, on the positive, it’s bringing me to a place of surrender, a place where I can receive from God and receive from others and die to my own self-sufficiency.
Lately, the more I’ve opened up to others about my current state, the less alone I feel, the more I can see that God is with me, the more I can experience God’s grace, the more I can give myself permission to be broken. And it brings freedom.
This is why there is strength in weakness. In the kingdom of God, weakness rallies support, weakness releases supernatural gifts, weakness summons wisdom, and it bends the ear of God who loves me so much. Weakness puts me in a posture where I can just be in the presence of God and not feel any pressure to be or do anything for God. I can just be with God and enjoy His absolute delight in me.
This abiding with God, this union life is where I exchange my battered and broken self for the resurrected Christ. Resurrection assumes a death and a losing of one’s life. Jesus said this to his disciples and then modeled it. This is why there can be power and strength in weakness. The power source is not within me, its from who lives in and through me. I've known this but I am experiencing it in a fresher way.
Power is perfected in weakness.
This is really the Christmas story! All God’s power to save all of humanity from itself begins in the weakest most vulnerable state of being-that of a newborn baby. I held a nine day-old baby this week. As I held him, I was reminded that there’s nothing more helpless and needy. It’s a great metaphor for how God must look at me. God must laugh (not in a mocking way, but in a you know better way) at my feeble attempts to do life in my own strength. It’s just absurd. This is why Paul writes that if he’s going to boast in anything at all, he will boast in his weaknesses so that the power of the risen Christ might dwell in him. That’s my prayer for myself right now.
When Handel composed the notes of the Hallelujah chorus of the Messiah, tradition holds that he “saw all heaven before him” and upon finishing this great work of art, wrote the letters SDG (Soli Deo Gloria-To God alone the glory). Heaven has indeed opened up before us and does so not to condemn the world, but to save us from ourselves.
May your Christmas be filled with the awe and wonder of Emmanuel-God with us!