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 am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)
Have you ever thought, I must be tough, independent, and an overcomer to survive? Or, I must be strong for my family, friends and myself? There were many times in my life when I felt the need to be strong for everyone. When my parents were dying, I needed to be strong, but felt my weakest. Most families have someone to lean on during difficult circumstances. I’m not saying my family depends on me to be strong. But there have been times when I felt the need to be strong for my family. I remember exactly where I was when I sent a quick prayer to God saying, If I’m the strong one in this family, we are in trouble! There have been times when I looked into the face of one of my children and knew they were looking to me as their parent for strength even though I was just as fearful as they were. But I had to put on my “strong face.” I found myself saying, It’s going to be fine! I’m sure God will make everything right, while my emotions were yelling back at me, YOU’RE AFRAID TOO!
From where did the idea come that we must be strong to survive? When I reflect on the times I needed to be strong, I remember knowing I needed God to come through for me or I would sink! Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting that we look for moments to feel out of control, weak, and hopeless in order to experience God’s power. But it is a lie to believe we can go through life without ever feeling weak or out of control.
Since God knows His children the best, we should know what He says regarding our ability to be in control and to be strong in any situation. God allowed us to hear from a man named Paul who struggled with a weakness that he desperately wanted God to change. We are not sure of what troubled Paul, but we know that he prayed earnestly for God to intervene and change his situation. Paul reveals that after serious prayer, God answered his prayer. Even though God didn’t change Paul’s situation, he promised to give Paul the strength to endure. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” WHAT?!? Power in weakness? No one in our world today would ever say there is power in weakness. But then again, God is not bound by our world. He created the world; therefore, He has the right to make the rules. When is the last time you boasted about your weaknesses? What is your response when God says, No, I will not change your situation?
Think about the freedom we would have if we faced difficult situations with the attitude, Okay God, here’s another opportunity for You to show me Your glory and for Your power to strengthen me as I trust in You! How would life be for us if we didn’t believe the lie that we must be strong to survive? How much joy would we experience if we knew without a shadow of a doubt that we could be overcomers by trusting in Christ instead of simply hoping and praying that our circumstances might change? It is a lie to believe that we are in control of anything. If you don’t believe me, try to control your circumstances by deciding that nothing will go wrong for you today. It won’t be long before you are faced with the choice to believe you must do whatever is in your power to be in control or to surrender to the only One who is truly in control.
I will never lead you to believe you are in control, but I will encourage you to believe you have the power to be an overcomer. 1 John 5:4-5 says, “…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” As believers, we know that in this world we will experience trials and tribulations, but Jesus told us to be of good cheer for He has overcome the world. The truth is that we are not in control, but our Father is. As His children, we are able to draw from His strength and rest in His power, not ours! I’m so thankful I have permission to know that I am not in control! I can’t control my emotions, much less my circumstances!
2 Corinthians 12; John 15:5; 1 John 5:5