The Strength of Weakness

"Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)

It was January 31,1997 and I had just been discharged from the hospital after my C-section following 23 hours of non-progressive labor with our firstborn son. We lived in Chicago at the time in a month when temperatures barely made it above zero degrees Fahrenheit for days at a time.

Recovery was slow and painful during those early days. There was so much I had never experienced as a new mother--breastfeeding, being up at all hours of the night, loads and loads of laundry, diaper blowouts, not realizing how long it took to get me and a baby ready to go out, and my raging maternal hormones. I would cry at the drop of a hat. If any sappy commercial came on, I sobbed through it.

I remember looking down at my beautiful newborn son and wondering, Am I old enough to take care of him? What if I do something wrong? Why didn't he come with instructions! I lived in a prison of fear, cognizant of the tremendous responsibility that had been thrust on my shoulders.

What if I don't do this right? I would hear the wind howling and see the snow flying and think, What if I left him outside in his car seat on accident? What if I forget that I am a mother?! Crazy thoughts like those would plague me.

I would sit and hold him for hours, reveling in his soft skin and wonder at how a nine pound nine ounce bundle of flesh had completely changed my world. I was at his side before he could make a whimper, never wanting him to feel alone, wanting him to know that mommy was right there. His weakness was a magnet to me. I rushed to hold him, to comfort him, to take care of his every need.

My sweet friend, why do you and I feel ashamed of our weakness before God? Why do we struggle so hard by ourselves? Why do we refuse the comfort of His arms as we sob over what we cannot understand? My beautiful son's weak state endeared me to him. Without saying a word, I would have died for him had the situation called for me to do that. How worthy are you? Your God sent His own beloved Son to die for you.

Jesus is not repelled by my weakness. He never says, "Figure it out on your own, Shawn." When I try to do that, when my pride does not let me bend the knee and cry from the depths of my soul that I need Him, He cannot help me. I must be willing to admit that I am nothing without Him, that I need Him more than I need the air I breathe. I don't have to wonder if Jesus thinks I am worthy of loving--He died for me before I knew that my sin had demanded that of Him. And He did it willingly, joyfully, because His glory is shown so magnificently in my weakness.

It is a lesson I am slowly beginning to learn. In my weakness, He is strong. I must glory in my weakness because my weakness is irresistible to Him--just like my newborn son's was to me. It makes Him come running to my side to do whatever He must to allow me to know that He is there and it is going to be okay.

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong; they are weak but He is strong.

Jesus, in a world that says I must look out for number one, that big girls don't cry, and that I must be self-sufficient, what a comfort it is to know that my weakness and confessed need of You never push You away. It brings You closer than You have ever been before.