grace | weakness

Weakened to Be Strengthened

March 8, 2021

Leaning against the handrails, I descended the stairs with meticulous, controlled steps. As each foot lands on the stair treads, soft thumping sounds and dramatic groans reverberate. Going to the basement used to be a ski downhill, but not this time. It turned into a sore chore.

My husband acted as a human cane, while my son’s face furrowed in confusion, “What’s wrong with mommy?” 

The stairs aren’t the only drudgery. Small movements, like hoisting myself up from languor and trekking a few steps to the bathroom, are also met with difficulty.

Though weakened and aching, still, I’m determined to subject my body under physical stress. I’m dead set on incorporating strength exercises on my weekday routine to fight back against atrophy.

Why bother working out when it’s uncomfortable? Why do it when it incapacitates us in the beginning?

We all know the many benefits of sweating it out on the treadmill (or on the exercise mat, whichever you prefer). A quick Google search would give a sundry of answers. What’s interesting is how we must submit to weakness in order to be strengthened.

Sure, it’s disconcerting to find ourselves in a position of vulnerability. No one likes it when our comforts are disturb and our minds and hearts are perturbed. Yet, the Apostle Paul could say, 

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

~ 2 Corinthians 12:10

How can that be?

When life is lived in relative ease, we tend to settle. When no battles are fought… when no problems are straightened out, decline wends its way into our lifestyles. For some of us, we try to avoid facing life’s difficulties, thinking it will straighten out on it’s own. 

Some do whittle down. But others don’t. Prolonging something doesn’t make it go away. Until we tackle it down, it becomes a barrier to our progress.

Now, I’m not suggesting we go and start looking for trouble. Life is already full of it

Though limited, it’s not reason enough for us to back down and acquiescence under the weight of troubles coming our way. We must push through. Build emotional, mental and spiritual muscles in spite of our weaknesses.

Strength doesn’t come by happenstance. It isn’t automatic. Just because someone goes through a trying time doesn’t automatically turn blubber into brawn. We can be someone miserable before the winds of tribulation come and remain the same — or worse — after the rampage. A proper posture is warranted.

That is, we need to humble ourselves, acknowledge our need for help, and with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16). Only then can our deficiencies turn into strength.

When the trials of life weaken us, we can run to the Strong (Jesus Christ) for strength. 

We can’t win the battles of life alone. But thank God, we aren’t on our own. He is with us. He can transform all things — flaws, limitations, faults, weakness — into strength. His supply of grace is overflowing.

+++

A week has passed since I subject my sedentary muscles to pressure. I no longer have to lean against the railings or need a human cane to help me down the stairs.

Pain still stings, but it no longer hinders my daily movements. And yes, working out remains uncomfortable. But I know it’s doing my body a favor. 

Seasons of weakness are necessary in order to recognize our need for Strength. And when we acknowledge our limitations and come humble before God, we can be confident to receive grace anew.

I pray someday too, we could find contentment in weaknesses just like the Apostle Paul, and declare, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.

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