For When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong
It is almost 3am and I absolutely should be sleeping but I feel this must be said.
These past two years have been a battle for me – to understand why I am a Christian, to understand on what or whom my salvation depends on even when my faith seems to falter. I have allowed criticism from fellow believers about my life choices to breed bitter tears and desperate questions deep within me… Why do they seem more godly than me? Why am I the only one struggling with depression, seeing a biblical counselor? Do I not trust God enough? Am I even saved?
Philippians 4:6, (a verse that would not be so drilled into my head if it were not for biblical counseling!), tells me to not be anxious about anything, but to pray about everything and present my concerns to God. So I prayed about this fear of being lesser than other believers and of having seemingly weaker faith. And God was faithful to answer.
My sister and I have been studying the Old Testament book of Daniel this summer. Today’s passage told the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace when they refused to worship the Babylonian gods and the golden image of King Nebuchadnezzar. When King Neb looked into the furnace, he saw four men – the three he cast in, and “one like a son of the gods” (Daniel 3:25). All were completely untouched and unharmed by the fire. There was no doubt, even in the eyes of King Neb, that their God was the only God who could do the impossible.
I was then reminded of a sermon I once heard from a young youth pastor years ago. He pointed out that God’s miracles never left room for doubt. When Jesus calmed the storm, the wind and the waves stopped immediately. When Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, Lazarus had already been dead for 3 days…(also he stank). When Peter and John healed a lame man in Christ’s name, the man didn’t struggle upward until he could walk…he leapt to his feet as he praised God. Yet Jesus himself, the Son of God who shares in all of God’s divine attributes, did not seem powerful or impressive…especially to those who expected a great and powerful king to overthrow Roman rule. What a paradox – that Jesus Christ “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8), yet achieved the greatest miracle of all time.
Sometimes I am extremely saddened that the Gospel doesn’t seem to pierce my heart or bring me to tears more often like it did this evening. I am tempted to think, I must not be a Christian if the Gospel doesn’t convict me every second of every hour of every day. But God has taught me again and again that the power of the Gospel does not depend on the constancy of my passion for Christ – it is solely rooted in the power of God which will never fade, never dim, never be put out. Therefore I can boldly say that if I have a weaker faith than my neighbor, I do not have to be discouraged. Instead, I can rejoice because Christ’s power is made perfect in weakness. Indeed, like Paul, I can “boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” And yes, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10-12).