After a four-year battle with infertility, my husband, Rob, and I welcomed our precious miracle boy Samuel into the world in February. We didn’t know at that time that the world was on the brink of a pandemic. Just weeks after we brought Samuel home from the hospital, coronavirus cases exploded across the United States and especially in our city of Chicago.
While some days at home have been sweet, joyful, and snuggle-filled, I’ve also had really hard days of feeling weak, overwhelmed, or frustrated. The combination of adjusting to having a family of five plus many sleepless nights and transitioning to homeschooling our two daughters proved to be challenging. Each evening as I collapsed into bed, I felt like I had run a marathon, while each morning, I struggled to get out of bed at the thought of having to do the same exhausting routine for another day. But no matter my feelings, I found something to be true each day: in my weakness, God’s grace truly is enough to meet my needs.
The Beauty of Weakness
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul pleaded with God to take away what was troubling him, his thorn in the flesh. We don’t know exactly what Paul’s thorn was, but he wasn’t able to remove this limitation or challenge on his own. While God didn’t remove Paul’s thorn, He did give him the grace to live with it. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says: “‘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.”
Grace is God’s unmerited or undeserved favor. It’s also been defined as “God’s riches at Christ’s expense” and as “a force that sustains us throughout our lives.”1 God saves us by His grace through faith (Eph. 2:8–9), and by His grace, He also strengthens us on a daily basis. The beauty of Paul’s weakness was that it allowed him to more fully experience God’s grace as God provided him with the power to endure challenges.
For many of us, the coronavirus has created unexpected difficulties, trials, fears, and sorrows. For me, it has exposed weak spots, including a desire to control and a tendency to escape when situations become difficult. However, during this season, I’ve found God’s power strengthening me in my physical, emotional, and spiritual weakness.
Despite much of the bad news we hear each morning, there’s good news. The sustaining power that I need (and that you most likely need, too) comes from a supernatural source. Instead of considering our weak areas as flaws or something to hide, we can see them as a blank canvas. Our weakness is an opportunity for God to paint a beautiful picture where we’re lacking. As God’s grace fills us and strengthens us, our lives reveal His beauty and provision for all to see.
If you’re feeling weak in faith, weak in patience with your family, weak in love toward your spouse, weak at your workplace, or weak in physical strength, don’t despair. As we rely on His grace, these weak places provide the space for us to experience God’s supernatural supply of strength (2 Cor. 13:4).
Just as Jesus needed God’s power to raise Him from the dead, the “same mighty power” is available to us (Eph. 1:19–20 NLT). What a relief that we don’t have to rely on how many hours of sleep we had, our caffeine intake, or our own willpower to carry us through each day. The beauty of weakness is that it sets us up to receive His sustaining grace.
The Blessing of Weakness
Paul went on to write in 2 Corinthians 12:10: “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.”
When Paul said he was “content with weaknesses,” he wasn’t saying he just tolerated them. The word “content” means “to be well pleased with, take delight in.”2 Paul delighted in everything from insults to calamities because he knew God would strengthen, help, fortify, and deliver him. Even if Paul was dealing with physical or emotional turmoil, he could view his weak areas as blessings, as they were an opportunity for God’s glory to be displayed “for the sake of Christ.”
In the midst of the hardships and calamities associated with the coronavirus, God is with us and working within us. While we may be experiencing everything from fear of death to emotional rollercoaster rides to devastating financial losses, as followers of Christ, we can expect God to help us as we humbly wait for His power to be perfected in us. Our weaknesses and limitations can be transformed into blessings as we depend upon our never weak, never tired God.
What to Do When You Feel Weak
Acknowledge Your Weakness
The next time you feel exhausted by anything from your number of Zoom calls to your piles of laundry or dishes (can I get an amen?), talk to God about what’s weighing you down (Ps. 55:22). I’ve found that simply admitting that I don’t have within myself what may be required to face each day helps me to keep my eyes on the Lord.
Thank God for Your Weakness
While this may seem like a strange thing to do, God’s Word says we should give thanks to Him in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). When we thank God for our weakness, this reminds us of His sovereignty and helps us to humble our hearts before Him. Since “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble,” He will fill and lift us up in due time (1 Peter 5:5–6).
Pray about Your Weakness
Since God has the power to change us to be like His Son, Jesus, there’s no weakness He is unable to change (2 Cor. 3:18). When I pray about my weak areas or limitations, I begin my prayers with praise. For example, if I’m sick, I praise God that He is my great physician and healer. Then I ask Him to heal me. If I’m struggling with patience, I praise God that He is longsuffering and that while I was still a sinner, His Son died for me (Ps. 86:15; Rom. 5:8). Then I ask for a fresh filling of His patience. As we praise God and pray about our weak areas, God, in His grace, will help us and give us His strength, no matter the need or situation.
If this pandemic has resulted in feelings of weakness, be encouraged that because of God’s grace the “immeasurable greatness of His power” is available to us (Eph. 1:19). Just as the riches of His grace have empowered this tired mom, the riches of His grace are sufficient to meet your needs today. When we are weak, He is strong.
Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God! (Ps. 68:35)
1 David E. Garland, 2 Corinthians, vol. 29, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 524.
2 Moisés Silva, ed., New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014), 313.