Any of you with teenagers or husbands know how frustrated they (or we) can get when they (we) try to do something and just can’t figure out how to do it right (or do it at all for that matter).
To put things in perspective doesn’t help. My son gets just as frustrated if he can’t figure out how to do something trivial as he does when he fails or is frustrated by the big stuff.
I think it’s because he’s like me… and you. Someone who doesn’t like the feeling of weakness or lack.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to succeed at everything I try, and have at my disposal (and preferably within arms reach) every resource I could possibly need to build my preferred future.
I was reminded recently that weakness is an essential ingredient to the character that God is building in me.
Oswald Chambers said, “To those who have had no agony Jesus says, “I have nothing for you; stand on your own feet, square your own shoulders. I have come for the man who knows he has a bigger handful than he can cope with, who knows there are forces he cannot touch; I will do everything for him if he will let Me. Only let a man grant he needs it, and I will do it for him.”
It’s not weakness that God is building in me – I’ve got plenty of that on my own. It’s weakness, failures, shortcomings, decrepitude and other whatchamacallits that God uses to showcase something else entirely.
Something described as a treasure in [a] jar of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
So the next time you’re frustrated when your weakness keeps you from being incredible (and assembling that Ikea desk right – first try) thank God that it’s through just that kind of incompetence – and many other kinds just like it, that people experience the power of God at work in their lives and showcase the life of God for people watching.
P.S. For those of you not sure of how God could possibly display His life through your temper tantrums whilst building stuff. I wasn’t talking about the temper tantrums.
I was talking about the millions of ways that God can reveal himself to people through other people despite their faults, failures or frustrations. –
- people are watching when you get passed over for the promotion you really wanted
- they’re watching as you work through your grief at the loss of a loved one.
- They’re watching ’cause if they can relate to you in how you own your weakness, they might be able to relate to the God who is at work in you.
What have you been going through lately that has you frustrated or disappointed – maybe even disappointed in yourself? I can’t begin to capture in words how valuable that experience, or frustration, or weakness is to God. But I learned this week that there are a million words for it. In fact the word that the scripture writer used for treasure: is the greek word thēsauros
So now you know another word for Thesaurus – It’s treasure.
And now you know when you’re telling yourself that it’s too late, impossible, that you don’t have what it takes, or that you’re a failure – There’s another way to say it. That’s the treasure. Your weakness is a platform for the all surpassing power from God.
P.P.S – I know that some of you know this about me: I have a growing appreciation for modifiers – words that elaborate on or clarify an idea or concept.
And you should too. ‘Cause I just told you that God can take your weakness and, like nothing else, display his all surpassing power through it. But I know you know that I am prone to exaggerate to make a point.
Well so, apparently, is God. When the Greek’s are trying to describe the power of God they use the word hyperbolē. It’s impossible to overstate how God can work in your weakness and through your faults.