Experiencing weakness doesn’t mean God is far from you. Weakness actually brings Him nearer. We become more dependent on Him, leaning on Him more heavily. This builds trust in Christ that is sweeter, fellowship with the Father that is more intimate, and a flow of divine grace that becomes a powerful river in our lives.
In Genesis 32, we see three “marks” from God on Jacob’s life through the process of wrestling. We read how God re-defined Jacob’s identity to reveal his true created purpose, and we saw how the wrestling process brought Jacob into a face to face encounter with God. These are obvious blessings, evidence that the Father designs trials not to harm us, but to take us deeper into His heart.
The blessing seems a little less obvious with God’s third “mark” on Jacob. It says, “He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled…The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.” (Gen 32:25,31) God left Jacob with pain and a limp; how is this a good thing? The picture is of a man, previously walking hard and fast in his own strength to achieve significance, now staggering along as a sign of his overwhelming need for God’s help to become what he was destined to be. The limp made Jacob “lean on God”. And so God got what is most precious: He got Jacob’s heart, his trust. In the months and years after his experience with God, Jacob’s limp would keep his heart in the sweet place of dependence, and this would ensure that God’s work would be completed for the father of Israel and His descendants.
Weakness is a normal state of the Christian walk. In fact we should learn to enjoy it. These are Paul’s thoughts on the matter: He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 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…For to be sure, He was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him to serve you. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, 13:4
The human perspective of weakness is that its awful. We want to get over it, to get strong and back into control. Often we’re disappointed that God has not yet answered our prayers to remove the problem, whatever it is. But weaknesses are not an obstacle to God’s purpose for our lives, they are the pathway! The Father’s way for us is to embrace Him rather than trying to escape the problem.
In your weaknesses and challenges, the Father invites you to reach out for His unfailing love, to draw on His grace and to embrace Him more tightly. Throw off your disappointment and frustration and rejoice in the opportunity to trust Him. Lift your weaknesses up to Him, and He will replace them with His strength day by day, and will put His arms around you to support your “limp”. Christ will make His power rest on you.
His power is made perfect in weakness.