9 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 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 12:9-10 ESV
I have to share an unpastoral thought with you. I recently read this passage and thought, this is stupid. Who wants to be weak? Who wants to be dependent? I spent most of my life learning how to be independent, to stand on my own two feet, to take care of myself and my family, and now this passage tells me that I should boast in weakness in Christ gladly? The author seems to almost revel in the weakness he is experiencing, and his need to lean into God.
I also got frustrated reading this passage because of how hard it has hit home in the last 8 months. Because at far too many moments I have felt weak. I am the Father of an amazing, joyful, passionate two year old who loves his Daddy a lot. On days when I have been at working far too many hours, and spending far too little time with Him, I wonder, “God am I living up to being the Father you have called me to be?” I feel weak.
I have been married for seven years to my best friend and beautiful wife, who God brought into my life as my partner, my helpmate to journey through life together. At times it feels like there is not enough hours in the day to get everything done around the house, let alone to have a depth of quality time together I had hoped for when I got down on one knee to propose to her all those years ago. I feel weak.
I lead a church filled with an eclectic group of people who have deep hearts to serve God that I call my church family. I have had to sit down with a number of ministry leaders recently explaining how much I appreciate them, and that although I cannot attend their event or meeting, I still value their work and that this is not reflection of my feelings about them or the ministry they lead. God, am I living up to the Pastor who have called me to be? I feel weak.
So as I vented to God about the silliness of this passage, he spoke something into my heart. You can’t do it all. You are not even supposed to try. Truly even with unlimited time and resources I cannot by my own two hands become Father of the year. No amount of Dr. Phil knowledge or marriage conferences will make me the greatest husband in the neighborhood. I cannot will myself to become the greatest preacher since Billy Graham, or a leader that Fortune 500 companies would envy, because I am weak. Or perhaps I should substitute another word: incomplete.
As I have been wrestling with my own imperfections and growing edges, I have been reminded repeatedly through scripture that my ability to live into the roles I am called to: Husband, Father, Pastor, brother, friend, and more don’t rest on what I can do. I am beginning to understand this passage to be a confession, a reminder. A reminder that my ability to fulfill my calling is directly related to my level of trust, dependence and faith in the God who empowers me. My family and church rest in his hands. The God who knit my family together, who called my family to serve at Trinity, and the God who created me in my Mother’s womb has promised to be my strength, my source, my passion.
Do you feel weak today? God promises to us in scripture to hold our very lives and all the nitty gritty details of it in his hands, as He molds you into the person He is calling you to become. I am weak today, and like the author of 2 Corinthians, I boast, trusting that Christ’s strength, wisdom, patience, and love will rest upon me as I live into the person God has called me to be.