When I am weak
I remember well a particular youth event in 2009. It was in preparation for the event I felt God nudge me to give my testimony so I prayerfully and carefully crafted the message I would share. Moments before the event began I was a trembling mess of nerves. What was I thinking asking to be on the agenda? Surely no one would be interested in what I had to share! What if I went completely blank and made no sense of my notes?
Then it happened.
I kept calling out to God from my weakness and insecurity and as the worship music began peace descended like a welcome rain. As I spoke, I felt the power and presence of God so powerful that even years later I am still amazed.
I’m reminded of Paul’s words when he wrote about his ‘thorn in his flesh’ and the grace of God-
“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
My human logic tells me I could really make a difference for the kingdom of God through my strengths. But did you catch that… “I” could make a difference. The years have taught me that though “I” can make some difference, God working in me makes a much bigger difference. How else can we explain how 11 uneducated, small-town men from Jerusalem changed the course of the world through their message about Jesus?
As I open to Judges 7, I read about the army of Hebrews who gathered after the summons sent out from Gideon. Thirty-two thousand came to fight the enemy. I imagine Gideon felt good about this show of strength… until God spoke to him and told him there were too many soldiers in the army. Really? Can that happen? Why was that a problem? Wouldn’t that mean the odds would be in their favor? Apparently that last part was the problem.
“The Lord said to Gideon, ‘You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her…” Judges 7:2
And so God began a process of sifting until only 300 of 32,000 remained. God wanted there to be no doubt as to who was behind the Israelite army’s victory over the enemy.
I wonder what was going through Gideon’s mind. Did he stand bold with confidence that all would be well or was he full of questions? God, how is this going to work? God, I really don’t know what I’m doing. God, are you sure you picked the right person to lead this raid because I’m not feeling it?
At the end of Judges 6 we saw how Gideon struggled with self-doubt. Surely those thoughts were still running rampant this day as well… that is if Gideon was anything like me.
Yet Gideon’s story and Paul’s words line up with my experiences. God usually chooses to work through my weaknesses so that he shines brightest. I smile as I think of me standing before a crowd talking through one of my strengths- mathematics. Yet no one at that youth event or the events I’ve spoken at since came to hear me tell them how to use the quadratic formula or how to integrate a function. (Some of my students don’t want to hear about it either but their choices are limited!) The event audiences were more interested in hearing how God can be depended on, how God guides us, and in seeing how God can take a flawed gal like me and still use her.
Brothers & Sisters in Christ, we might as well give it up and reconcile to the fact that God chooses… on purpose… to work through our weaknesses for his glory. Let us not run from the call to let God work through us in areas where we feel most inadequate and vulnerable for it is through our limits that God shines brightest! I thank God for pushing me out of my comfort zone back in 2009 for my life was forever changed by his work that day.