I am not an outspoken person about my faith or otherwise. What I choose and how I live my life are my biggest testimonies. However, just because I happen to say less does not mean that I am ashamed to tell you what I believe.
I’ve been thinking about strength lately. My body seems to be getting weaker all the time. My muscles don’t function right, or well most of the time. My appendages and middle fluctuate from stiff as a poker to mushy as jello. It’s like stepping out across a cavern on a suspended bridge each day not knowing if it will hold. The fact of the matter is: my physical body is weakening. But something strange has happened over the years. As my outer strength has waned, my inner strength has flourished.
Where does my inner strength come from? Is it something I sought from within or from an outer force? Does strength just happen, or is it built? What does inner strength look like? How do I define it? How do you?
As people, we abhor weakness. We shy from it. It embarrasses us and causes us pain. We are taught to desire strength, whether it be physically or mentally. Strength usually equates to power of some sort—the power to lead, to be independent, or to control others.
But this is not how God defines strength. He says, “When you are weak, you are strong.” At least when living lives which are surrendered to him. He can take the youngest, smallest, defected, or most insignificant weak (inside or out) person and fortify them with strength. He did it over and over in the stories of the Bible. God seems to take special delight in working through those who fall in the “less than” category to help achieve mighty things. I think of Moses, David, Gideon, Esther, Samuel, a babe in a manger ect. . . . The list goes on.
What is the purpose of strength? Do we aim to become strong simply for our own gain? In God’s economy strength is used not only to better our own lives but to raise others up as well.
I believe inner strength is built on faith or perhaps a result of it. Like physical work strengthens muscles, so does our faith exercises our strength. We grow stronger when we trust and believe. Like an arch is strong because it spreads the tension of weight outward, so are we.
We bend and often break under the direct pressure of our various burdens. Christ’s presence in our life acts as the arch. He bears our weakness, making us more pliable, teachable, and thus stronger.
I think of this verse as I close. 2 Cor. 12:9 – My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. I remind myself of this often. The promise of these words helps me live in this weak body of mine. Knowing that I don’t have to be strong in my merit alone frees me from fear, sorrow, and anger over my physical condition. (Not to say that my condition doesn’t figuratively trip me up sometimes.) This strengthens my faith, believing that God can use even the weak things of my life for some greater purpose. Praise be to God that he specializes in empowering weak things.