"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Cor. 10:13)
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust. (Ps 103:13-14)
Jesus knows what makes me weak; he knows, in every sphere, my breaking point - that point at which I will lose heart, lose hope, or even lose my grip on sanity or my tentative hold on fragile physical life. Jesus knows what overwhelms my will, what would cause me to despair, what temptations are uniquely powerful for me. He knows my weaknesses with food and lust, He knows my twisted familiarity with self-hatred and shame.
What does Jesus do with this knowledge?
Our awareness of someone's weakness might cause us to want to exploit it, especially if they are a perceived enemy. Other times we are ashamed of someone's weakness and run and hide from them lest their weakness expose our own. At our best, we enter into each others' weakness so that we can lend strength and journey together. This is a faint glimpse of what our Savior does.
He provides over-abounding grace to meet me in my weakness so that it does not become a place of ultimate defeat, but of defining intimacy. He gives sufficient grace (2 Cor 12) so that weakness and handicap can become world-conquering strength. But it never becomes the kind of "worldly" strength that is measured in visible power and success, the kind that will receive acclaim from the Donald Trumps and Dr. Phils of this world; it is an inner power flowing from the indwelling Spirit to a new self that is increasingly free from the opinions of others, the trappings of success and the shame of failure. Our weakness, soaked in the grace of Jesus our tender Savior, becomes a point of light to those trapped in darkness; it becomes a pool of refreshing water to those made desperately thirsty with the dry sands and hot winds of religion; it becomes a source of strength to those who are ready to give up, to give in, to give over.
I need Jesus; I am weaker than I ever thought possible, in more ways than I thought possible, and my weakness continues to broaden and deepen the older I get. May his grace be exposed through my weakness, so that others might find in Him peace, solace and ever-flowing love and strength. May the Pharisees who despise weakness give no thought to me; I am content to bear his reproach, for this too is weakness. May the broken who know their weakness find fresh hope in a Savior who loves to dwell with the weak and broken, even passing by the favored, strong and rich of this world, those "have-it-all-togethers" who have no need of a broken Savior. He has no need of them either.
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