I was listening to one of the panel discussions from the Desiring God conference from last week. In it, John Piper was asked a question about humility and his passionate answer challenged me. One small phrase in particular stood out. He said, “God ‘fits’ us with our weaknesses.” In other words, in God’s design of us alongside our specific strengths, He has also given us specific weaknesses. This got me thinking.
A little caveat…we’re not talking about sin. God is not the author of my sin and He didn’t give me sinful weaknesses. James is clear, “God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13 ESV). What I mean is skill weakness…or non-sinful personality weakness…or circumstantial weakness. There are simply areas that I am weak…and that is BY DESIGN.
I hate my weaknesses. I hate the fact that I’m not good at thinking through the details. The “big vision” is easy for me. I know where I want Cornerstone to be in 5 years..then 10 years…and even 15-20. I can see the picture and the principles that drive the vision. What I don’t see well are all the steps and details on how to get there. I hate that.
I hate that I’m a forgetful person. Courtney will call me at 4:45 pm before I leave the office and ask me to stop by the store and get chicken, milk, and oatmeal. It’s not that I will forget the list…I’ll forget to go to the store! I’ll show up at home and Courtney will ask, “Where are the items from the store I asked you to get?” I’ll smite my forehead, sigh, and turn around, tail between my legs, and get what she needs. I feel stupid…and I hate that.
I could go on and on…I have many weaknesses. But listen…I have many weaknesses by DESIGN. I don’t quite get that…but today I’m rejoicing a little.
Here’s what my weaknesses CANNOT do…they can’t thwart the plan of God. God is infinitely bigger than my weaknesses and His will and purpose will be accomplished. Ps. 57:2 “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” I REJOICE in that! I lay my finger on that promise and give God praise! My weaknesses are NOT going to destroy the church. Sometimes I forget that and begin to feel defeated because of my weaknesses. But it is pride that drives me to think that my failures will keep Cornerstone from being all that God wants it to be. He will accomplish His will for our church…period.
Here’s what my weaknesses CAN do.
1. They humble me. At best we are all proud people striving for humility. Often, we don’t strive…we just fall head-long into self. My weaknesses remind me that I foolish and weak and of lowly birth. After all, that’s who He has called. I need humbling and my weaknesses are designed by God to provide a daily dose of humility.
2. They force me to depend on God. We naturally want it to be about us and we are all in one way or another striving for self significance…to be WORTH something. My weaknesses remind me that I need God. I need Him to strengthen me…I need Him to fix my mistakes…I need Him everyday to bolster me up and enable me to do what He has called me to do.
3. They drive me to the cross. At the cross we find our ultimate weakness and God’s ultimate display of provision and care. I am weakest at the cross…and He is the perfection of strength and humility. My need was greatest there, and His provision the most gracious. When I feel weak, I am reminded at if I have nothing else, I have the cross! What a joy.
I will work hard to grow and change to improve where I am weak. And along the way, I will praise Him for “fitting” me with inadequacy. May He be glorified in my weakness.