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How Our Weakness Reveals God’s Incredible Strength

How Our Weakness Reveals God’s Incredible Strength

JUNE 6, 2024

/ Articles / How Our Weakness Reveals God’s Incredible Strength

It was 1980-something.

I was in the seventh grade, taking my spot on the field for the opening kickoff of a small-town junior high football game. I knew my assignment: I was to run directly downfield at kickoff, getting past the blockers to tackle the player with the ball. As I looked straight ahead, I saw him, the player we’d been warned about—the Man-Boy.

Legend had it the Man-Boy had repeated junior high multiple times, making him the only eighth grader in the county old enough to register for the draft. He had a visible five-o’clock shadow, bulky muscles, and forearms so hairy that his grandmother could shave them and use the hair to knit cardigans for her church’s missionary society. You could picture him puffing a cigarette while lifting engines out of small cars in his father’s auto shop. There he was, directly before me, the blocker assigned to stop me, with a twenty-yard running start.

The Man-Boy sprinted toward me like a semitruck barreling down on a BMX bike, a raging bull charging a scarecrow. Though he was twice my size, I was determined not to flinch. I would hit him head-on, as hard as I could. Twenty yards separated us. Then fifteen. Ten. Five. I lowered my shoulder and…I don’t recall what happened next—not the impact, not a feeling, not even a sound. I don’t remember anything between him being five yards away and me looking up at the blue sky. I had zero effect on the Man-Boy. None. I hadn’t slowed him down.

I didn’t hinder him. I didn’t move him an inch. He ran through me like a locomotive passing through the fog. I was, in a word, weak. And running to the sideline, I was ashamed, wondering who had seen whatever had just happened, praying I’d never hear a word of it.

Humiliated, defeated, and wanting to hide—that’s how most of us feel about weakness. We want to get as far away from it as possible. But we shouldn’t feel that way. There’s nothing inherently wrong about being weak. Weakness isn’t a bug in the design of the universe; it’s a feature. It’s how God made us.

Weakness matters because it’s the backdrop against which God displays his strength. When we deny our weakness, we reject God’s power. When we boast in ourselves, we deny God’s provision. Weakness exists to display God’s glory in everything.

Weakness is God’s good gift because it’s the context in which he gives us himself. If we weren’t weak, we wouldn’t need God—we would rival him. “What do you have that you didn’t receive? If, in fact, you did receive it, why do you boast as if you hadn’t received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Embracing our weakness trains us to humble ourselves and to boast in God. Such weakness is good news because God loves the weak, and only the weak can genuinely love God.

Weakness reminds us that God designed all of life to be lived by faith. He didn’t create us to live by our own power, only introducing the need for faith once we needed to be saved from sin and death. Life, liberty, and happiness aren’t found in our independence. They’re rooted entirely in our dependence on the Lord. From the beginning, God made us look to him for all we are and all we need. Weakness is the soil in which faith grows—and faith is where life flourishes.

So, friend, don’t be ashamed of your weakness. Don’t hide it. Don’t think it makes you unable to approach God. Don’t despair, thinking it means that true strength is not available. Let’s embrace and celebrate weakness so we can embrace and celebrate all that God is for us and gives to us in Jesus Christ.

Eric Schumacher

Eric Schumacher

Eric is a husband, father of five, pastor, and proud Iowa-native. He is the author of the novella My Last Name and the co-author of Worthy: Celebrating the Value of Women.  He writes songs for corporate […]

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