No Strength Required

Jeff FAITH

Most of the time,

most of us are not

too weak.

Most of the time,

most of us are

far too strong.

 

We feel that we lose when

our weaknesses are prominent.

We want unlimited resources.

We prefer strong bodies.

We pray for elevation and advance and consistent breakthroughs.

It just seems right that we would operate in our most prominent gifts.

We like to run with a pack – a strong pack that is going somewhere.

Somewhere fast. Somewhere important.

The sound of applause as we run our race isn’t a bad thing, is it?

 

The paradox of the Kingdom is that we can actually be too strong.

Too capable. Too well-resourced. Too successful. Too gifted. Too applauded.

It is easy to feel immune from weakness when the pack we run with

are always hitting their strides, with no hitches in their giddyup.

Applause is occasionally encouraging and edifying,

but it is highly addictive and seasonally fickle.

But we prefer these things. They reinforce our confidence that we are strong.

We all want to be strong for our God.

 

Yet, brace yourself, God wants you to live with some weaknesses.

He actually ordains struggles, perfectly tailored for you.

Paul had his thorn. Joseph had his dungeon. David had his Shimei.

Jacob had his limp. Abraham had his long wait for baby-boy Isaac.

Jesus had His Gethsemane where He was so filled with sorrow

that His agony seeped through His pores in droplets of blood.

He asked the Father to remove the cup from Him, remember?

Nobody who lives for the glory of God gets the free pass

from the weight of weakness. Nobody.

That means you.

 

The glory of our weakness is that it is merely part of

the clay pot that holds the treasure of Christ.

When we look inside, getting around the us,

we can see the brilliance of God and His gospel at work inside.

He is the treasure in our earthen vessel.

The jar of clay was never meant to be the primary focal point.

Just the container for the treasure.

We must come to see that our struggles are great, open spaces for

the glory of God to shine. Weakness makes room for glory.

Our strengths can veil that glory. They often do.

When our strengths are prominent, people see us.

We don’t want them to. But they do. They see us when we are strong.

But when the thorn comes to pierce our sides,

when our fans and our friends no longer applaud,

when the pack we once ran with has visibly thinned and slowed,

when the wave of our resources has crested or crashed,

there is the moment when we must acknowledge

that we are not strong. We are not secure in ourselves.

We see that we need Jesus in everything, because in everything

we now have come to understand the insufficiency of self.

 

So we lean in.

We unclench our fists.

We relinquish our résumés.

We slow our frantic breaths which have been tethered to eyes

that have furiously, feverishly scanned for ways that we

can remain strong, capable, young, healthy, relevant,

secure and independent. We found the need to admit

that none of us in God’s nursery remain perpetually strong.

Our search has puttered out.

So we surrender. Then we surrender again.

We embrace the weaknesses – our weaknesses. We trust God with all of them.

We stop trying to be strong, so strong, too strong.

And we take Jesus up on His long-standing offer to

get up under His easy yoke and share in the light burden

which He has invited us to carry with Him. And then, in our weakness,

we learn Him. He is so strong. He is our strength.

 

His strength. Our weakness.

His smile. Our growing sense of calm.

His leadership. Our contented surrender.

His promises. Our hope.

And the great revelation that He has never, ever

needed us to be strong in ourselves.

Just trusting. That’s what He has always desired from His precious clay pots.

Just those who will happily hold the treasure.

 

This is how we enjoy today.

This is how we approach tomorrow.

On the best days, the only strength that we

really need is the strength

to take His hand

and let Him lead.