Nobody wants to be thought of as weak. We go to great lengths to present ourselves as strong and competent to the people around us. In conversations we highlight our recent accomplishments. In Christmas letters, we boast about the things we have achieved.
I wonder if we go to these lengths because we know deep down that we are weak. We are unable to meet our own standards. There are things in our past that we would like to forget. We are human, and we mess up.
Being weak is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, the apostle Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 1:26 that “God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” When His awesome power is at work in weak and foolish human beings, it brings shame to the ones who keep pretending they have it all together.
I’m reminded of a man named William whom his contemporaries would have seen as weak. He struggled throughout his life with depression, but God turned this weakness into strength by giving him words of poetry and the ability to set these words to music. William Cowper (1731-1800) wrote a hymn I greatly treasure entitled “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.” Two of its verses are as follows:
You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
His purposes shall ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour
The bud may have a bitter taste
But sweet will be the flower.