“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a
I know I’m weak. I feel it every day. That’s why I like this verse. God’s power is made perfect in weakness — my weakness. How thrilling to know that God’s plan for my weakness is to make His power perfect!
And I know how that’s going to look, too. Like the Phoenix, I will rise from the ashes in blazing glory, displaying God for all to see. People will be drawn to the cross because they will see that my God, who is faithful to me in my weakness, will be faithful to them, too.
Welllll, maybe not quite like that.
For several years, a health challenge has affected my daily life. I am grateful for God’s comfort, strength, and aid. I am waiting for my Phoenix moment.
Recently, I spoke with a friend who has also been struggling with health limitations for a lengthy time. During our time, we shared God’s activity in our lives. She, too, clings to this verse, among others. Recently, her symptoms have intensified and there are more questions than answers. This woman, who loves the Lord, is mulling over questions that ask God how long, how are my limitations best for those I love, when will I see His power be made perfect in this weakness. I have asked these questions, too. Have you?
Then we talked about Jesus. While He was fully God, Jesus was fully human and, since He has been tempted in every way we are (Hebrew. 4:15), He experienced weakness. And, since He is Jesus, surely God’s power was made perfect in His weaknesses.
Now, before you say, “Gina, He HAD a Phoenix moment. He rose from the dead!” Yes, He did. But I want to focus on another moment. Come with me on the road to Golgotha.
Jesus had endured more than we can fathom. He had been brutally betrayed by Judas, abandoned by his closest friends, falsely accused, spat upon, mocked, beaten, whipped, stripped, and sentenced to death on a cross — all in a matter of hours. It is likely you and I will never have to endure such suffering.
In His most humanly weakened state, He walked to Golgotha, knowing that He would be hung from a cross and suffer the full wrath of God for the sins of men. On top of this, Jesus, the Son of God, had to carry the crossbeam from which he would hang. How could He even put one foot in front of the other?
We read in Luke 23:26 His burden became too great to physically bear, He could travel no farther with His heavy burden, and a man named Simon was forced to carry His crossbeam.
In this gruesome passage, God’s power was made perfect in weakness. Jesus, in His humanity, didn’t want this. In the garden of Gethsemane, He asked God to allow this cup to pass from Him. But God said no. His power would be displayed differently.
I want to be healed and restored. My friend wants that, too. But that’s not God’s plan for us at this time. Perhaps you have been asking and praying and waiting for God to heal and restore. If that’s not God’s plan at this time, I’m sorry. I really am.
In my weakness, in all of my inabilities, my lack, my frustration over not being able to do what I once could, in my worst moments, my crossbeam is being carried; your crossbeam is being carried. God carries our crossbeams. How this looks varies with each person and situation and day.
God’s power is made perfect in our weakness and it most often doesn’t look like the Phoenix rising in blazing glory. Sometimes it resembles God sending us a Simon to carry our crossbeam as we struggle to put one foot in front of the other, going where we do not want to go.
And so we go. We go, not because we are enthralled with struggle, trial, sorrow, pain, and loneliness. We go because, like Jesus, we look beyond what we can see. We look up and see eternity being prepared for us by One who walked a much harder road than we. We see our faithful God, our Good Shepherd, our Rock, and our Refuge. We see Jesus, arms open wide, rejoicing over us with loud singing IN the mess of our weakness.
We go with hope, remembering the works of our wondrous God, trusting that though our knees may buckle under the burden we bear, we will one day understand. On that day, God will receive the glory and we will bow down in worship, grateful that He was with us all along.