Strength in Weakness

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” -2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)

Why is it so painful to feel weak? Our pride does not want to admit to or show any signs of weakness. The reason for this is that our pride wants to convince others that we are great and deserving of admiration and respect. But when situations break the illusion that our pride has created of ourselves and our abilities, we feel useless and helpless. It does not help that our culture has in general subconsciously adopted the attitude of survival of the fittest, where the strong survive and the weak are cast aside. When we find ourselves in that position of weakness it is easy to fall into despair; asking if there is any way to regain our shattered worth and dignity.

The wonderful promise is Christ is able to make us strong through our weaknesses. He is in the business of restoration and He wants to bring us life through Him so that we may thrive. Nothing is impossible for God and He is able to use our sorrows and failures to make us strong and display His faithfulness and love. When we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts and seek to be empowered by His Spirit residing within us, He will give us strength to face and overcome the struggles we face. In Him we have an intrinsic worth knowing that He has created us in His image and are adopted into His family when we choose to be renewed by Him.  Thus as His precious children we can rest in the fact that He will always come alongside us and lift us up despite our hardships when we call upon Him. Knowing that the loving hand of God is always there to support us, we will have a strength that will remain firm in the midst of adversity and pain. We can take hope in the assurance that while we may stumble and feel weak, Christ will always pick us up and use our sufferings to fulfil His perfect plan for our lives.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Building Up Strength

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” –James 1:2-3 (NIV)

Military training is notorious for its discipline and toughness. Training montages from movies depicting army life provide a glimpse into the ordeals that civilian recruits have to undergo in order to become soldiers. The harsh endurance tests, the hazardous live-fire exercises, and the arduous treks through rugged terrain carrying packs weighted by equipment and supplies, are enough to scare away civilians from joining the military and understandably so. But all these things are meant to prepare soldiers for the realities of the battlefield. The strength and experience gained from training will not only help the solider to survive on the frontlines, but make him capable of defending his country. Thus, gruelling as training might be, the soldier endures it in the knowledge that doing so makes him stronger.

How often do we complain about our circumstances? Too often we look at our pain and misery and descend into despair. We allow ourselves to become slaves to our situations and become weak under the weight of hopelessness. However, we fail to realize that our trials are opportunities to build up our strength and faith in God. When we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts and have allowed Him to guide our steps, we will understand that our challenges will never be able to overtake us. Through Christ who has overcome all things, we are able to claim that same victory knowing that He is able to use our sufferings for His glory. Surrendering ourselves to Him and allowing Him to work in our lives, we will be able to see His faithfulness and love in our situations so that our faith in Him will be strengthened. The despair we face today will not last and when we remain in Christ and seek His face, we will be empowered in our faith by His Spirit so that we may find an unshakable strength in Him who works to build us up.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

He Is At Our Side

“But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed…” –2 Timothy 4:17 (NIV)

There is something about being in community with one another that is invigorating. Knowing that we can count on the support of family and friends gives us that boost to continue on with our goals and ambitions regardless of what may come our way. Even if we are beaten down by the storms we face, we are able to get up by the help of those who love us. But as mortal and finite human beings, we cannot always rely on the support of others. There will come times when we are completely alone in our struggles. Friends we thought we could rely on can easily become enemies, or can drift away from us with the natural passage of time. Perhaps we may find ourselves far away from the warmth of family, or maybe it has already become a distant memory. In these times of loneliness and despair, who do we turn to for strength?

Paul knew what it was like to endure persecution alone. There were moments when Paul had to bear the brunt of his enemies’ ire with little or no support from anyone else. But what gave Paul strength was not the support of fallible humans, but the fact that God was beside Him in the midst of his suffering. It was because Paul was so firmly rooted in Christ that he was boldly able to proclaim His message of restoration and hope despite the opposition he faced. Likewise, when we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts and seek to abide in Him, He will strengthen us by His Spirit to carry out the task He has called us to do. No matter the challenges or antagonism we might face, we can rest knowing that in Christ we have an eternal source of strength which can never be taken away from us, and that we have hope in the One who is unstoppable and always victorious.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.