When Weakness Becomes Our Strength: Living Among Thorns

In our contemporary world, the tales of Christian figures like Amy Carmichael and Joni Eareckson Tada stand out, drawing us towards visions of unwavering faith amidst pain. These individuals, with their physical challenges and persistent suffering, sometimes seem to have a more direct line to God. But let’s be clear: There’s nothing romantic about enduring physical pain.

Pain is consuming. It doesn’t just linger in the background; it takes center stage, blurring our thoughts and altering our perception of time. Those late-night hours when we plead for a respite when we long for the comfort of slumber, but the ache keeps us awake? That’s when pain seems the loudest. In such moments, we can feel isolated and imprisoned within our own bodies.

Moreover, pain usually doesn’t arrive alone. With it come the burdens of dependence, the looming shadow of loss, and the guilt of leaning on others. Those who once took pride in their independence now find themselves needing assistance with even basic tasks. Will their loved ones tire of their needs? Are they becoming a burden? Those were the carefree days – days before every decision required an assessment of energy and potential pain.

Amid this, faith can waver. Questions begin to emerge, fueled by doubt and the enemy’s whispers. If God is truly merciful, why is this pain persistent? Is He even listening? Our beliefs, once firmly rooted, now seem like mere memories.

Yet, in the midst of this turmoil, we can find answers:

  1. Is God Truly With Me Amidst My Suffering? While miracles abound, God sometimes chooses sustenance over immediate relief. Think of the Israelites, who, despite yearning for quick solutions, were taught daily dependence through the manna they received. Perhaps the true miracle lies in daily grace, the strength to bear another day. Paul’s pleas for relief from his affliction were met with grace, not an immediate solution. He realized that in our weakest moments when we lean entirely on God, we find His true strength.
  2. How Can Weakness Be Part of God’s Plan? We often view our infirmities as hindrances, yet they could be pivotal in God’s plan for us. Like Paul, whose afflictions made him rely wholly on God, our weaknesses can highlight His strength working through us. When we are at our lowest, devoid of our capabilities, that’s when His power shines the brightest. Remember, Christ’s crucifixion, a moment of apparent weakness, led to the world’s salvation.
  3. Can Any Good Come From This Pain? This question is perhaps the most difficult to grapple with. Yet, our pain, our suffering, might be the purest form of worship. Like the woman with the alabaster flask who poured her treasure out for Jesus, our endurance and perseverance through agony could be our most sincere offering to the Lord. And just like her act of devotion resonates through history, our quiet sacrifices in moments of despair might hold eternal significance.

In conclusion, the journey through physical suffering is complex and challenging. But if there’s one truth we can hold onto, it’s this: our devotion, even in pain, will never be in vain. Every tear, every cry, and every plea is seen and cherished by the One above.