Strength in Weakness

Posted: February 8, 2012 in Christian living
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Is it bad to show weakness?

I read recently the story of a 10-year-old boy who decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.  The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training, the master had taught him only one move.

“Sensei,” the boy finally said, “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?”

“This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied.  Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training.

Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament.  Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches.  The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match.  Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.  This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced.  For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched.  Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out.  He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened.  “No,” the sensei insisted, “Let him continue.”  Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard.  Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him.  The boy had won the match and the tournament.  He was the champion.

On the way home, the boy and the sensei reviewed every move in each and every match.  Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind: “Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”

“You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered.  “First you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo.  And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.”

The boy’s biggest weakness had become his greatest strength.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV) But 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. 10 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.

Allow your weakness to become God’s strength.  Allow your mediocrity to make way for God’s miracle. Consider this: Maybe God hasn’t intervened because you’re trying to do it all on your own.  Maybe God hasn’t demonstrated his power in your life because you’ve relied too much on your own strength. I mean, you CAN’T make it to heaven on your own!  God gave you help through his son Jesus Christ.  In our weakness, he becomes strong!

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Gideon in Judges 7: He was asked to deliver Israel from the Midianite army (as numerous as the sand on the seashore) who had impoverished and persecuted them for years. Gideon knew he’d have to amass quite an army to be victorious. Through all his efforts, he mustered only 32,000 men. They were totally outmatched and outnumbered, but here’s what God said:

Judges 7:2 (NIV) 2 The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her,

So God narrowed the “field” to 300 fighting men!  That’s right, an army of only 300 vs. an army more “numerous than the sand on the seashore”!  I think God was saying, “OK, now watch this!”

It’s been said that Chester Puller, a marine in Vietnam, when completely surrounded by the enemy closing in from all sides said, “Finally, we’ve got them exactly where we want them.”  That’s the fighting spirit!

I wonder how many times God’s been waiting to jump in, but I’ve relied too much on my talents. My resources. My finances. My wisdom.  I wonder if God is just waiting for me to shut up, slow up, or stop up so he can say “look up…now watch this!”




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