Paul claimed to “delight” in his weakness, for when he was weak, he said, he was strong. In Romans, he said that he “rejoiced” in his sufferings, and James echoed that in his letter. In our world, these are odd sorts of delights. No one I know likes being weak. And in fact, strength is needed. Strength is probably high on the list of everyone’s prayer list: we hear requests for strength for ourselves and each other almost every time anyone prays. “Give us strength” to do whatever is needed. We need power to live.
This morning, this weakness-strength conundrum interests me, because I think I’m in the middle of it. I am convinced that the call I’ve been given at the moment is beyond my simple ability to stand up and do this or that…preach, lead, advise, teach, inspire, administrate, etc. But as I was driving yesterday, the clear thought came to me that that was just as it should be. Any good that comes of my time working with leadership at the Northwest Church will not be good coming from my hand and my various skill sets, such as they are. The good that comes from this time will be from God, or there will be no good at all. And that is something to be glad for, and frankly, it releases me from the kind of pressure that Satan would love to have me shoulder on my own.
And so, I have to say there is a certain delight in the apprehension and acceptance of my fundamental weakness and inadequacy. Because in that realization, an open door appears through which perhaps God can work. I’m reminded of how Ayn Rand would despise such a claim to weakness (having just seen a play at Daniel’s high school written by Rand, again claiming the great supremacy of the super-man who strides above the petty world where insipid morality skews lesser mortals away from true greatness and heroism), and on the face of it, if there is no God, then the strength in weakness claim is pretty silly.
But as Schaeffer said, we worship a God who is there and who is not silent. So let weakness be a testimony, and let’s be clear: every good thing God does in this place will be His work alone.
In faith, let the weak roll up their sleeves…