Weakness is not something I like to admit… not to strangers, not to friends or family, not even to myself. Admitting weakness is like admitting failure, admitting that I am not as good as I could or should be. I am not sure that I would consider myself overly macho or tough, but admitting failure, weakness… come on, I mean it’s almost un-American, right?
The thing is that in a world that is consistently trying to find the commonality of all people one that we never want to focus on is our innate weakness and frailty. What really does bind all of us together are the statments, “Nobody’s perfect” and “Everybody has it rough”. Every human being on the face of the planet since the dawn of time has problems, flaws, tragedies. While Jesus never sinned and was morally perfect, even he faced hardships and moments of emotional and physical weakness. While it may seem antithetical to everything that we have been taught, it is in our weakness that we can approach each other and understand everyone.
One of my biggest weaknesses is that I don’t tend to make very deep friendships (probably because I have a hard time admitting my weaknesses…) and really it comes from a kind of intimidation that I feel around other people. This might surprise a few of you, but I get really self-conscious and have trouble approaching people on anything more than a superficial level. My wife pointed out to me that the people I was intimidated to approach were probably just as intimidated to approach me. It hit me that my weakness, my shortcoming might be the same as those around me, and if it wasn’t at the very least the people around me had some weaknesses. We were really not all that different.
What does that mean? Well, Paul writes about an experience he had in struggling with his weaknesses and his desire to overcome them. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 13, “7To 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. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But 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. 10That 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.”
This is one of my favorite sections of Scripture because if you look before and after this passage, all Paul talks about his is weaknesses and how the power of God is revealed most fully in our weakness. The reason this is so important for us is that God wants to reveal himself to everyone and through everyone… that is why we ALL have huge weaknesses. Our frailties are designed to point us to a loving and abiding God whose glory and strength are complete enough for everyone. Trying to hide our weaknesses or compensate for them by throwing our accomplishments in people’s faces only distracts from seeing the power of God.
If we are truly looking and truly open… then we will find that God’s power comes not in spite of our weaknesses, not to destroy our frailties, not to alleviate hardships or difficulties. God’s power is revealed right in the middle of our weakness, it is revealed because of our weakness. We need only not to hide.