My doctor's words were true, and I know he was using "weak" clinically, medically, and not as an accusation, but hearing this said out loud stung like a slap. We were discussing my frequent upper respiratory infections and the ENT's concern that some undiagnosed immune problem underlay them, and my rheumatologist (lupus doctor) was offering his feedback.
The accuser loves to find fresh material for harassing the saints, however, and the words were still echoing in the back of my mind the next morning. "It's true; I am weak. Even a year ago before this flare, my parents and 88 year-old grandmother could outwork me. Now, I lack even that much strength, and others pay the price." When I opened my Bible to my place in the Psalms, these words greeted me:
Be gracious to me, Lord, for I am weak (Psalm 6:2a, HCSB).Has that always been there? I must have read it many times before, but I guess it never entirely registered that these words were talking about me. They reminded me that shame festers in the dark, that I am still Eve hiding from God in the garden, that the only refuge is dragging the weaknesses and sins into God's light, that because of Jesus and grace there is no condemnation for me (Romans 8:1).
"Yes, Lord. Be gracious to me, for I am weak!"
Then, as fast as thought, another Scripture came to mind:
Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me. So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7b-10, HCSB).God's power is perfected in the weakness I fight against.
Weakness is not a reason for shame for the Christian, but an opportunity to boast and lean on Christ's power.
"So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses. . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong."
While I'm not yet to the point of boasting in my weaknesses or taking pleasure in them, at least now I'm facing in the right direction for transformation.
If anyone reading this is likewise feeling frustrated by or ashamed of weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and pressures today, may God's grace comfort you; may the power of Christ reside more fully in you; may you find His strength in your weakness; may the truth of His Word put the enemy to flight.
Some ways God has loved me this week. . . (#3768-3780)
~comfort, grace, and correction from God's Word
~His power in my weakness
~sticky, muddy, wonderful nephew hugs
~gift of a dream hug from the grandmother whose body we buried twenty years ago this month
~real hug from my other grandmother
~lovely Valentine's Eve date with my husband, cozy at home with quiet, candles, and twinkle lights instead of crowds
~his grace to accommodate my weaknesses
~wider variety of birds visiting the new "squirrel-proof" bird feeder
~laughing at the squirrel's comic attempts to flee when we scared him off said new feeder
~the best February weather anyone could wish these last few days
~helpful appointment with new doctor
~God's continuing provision for our needs
~family supporting each other in sorrows and joys alike