Strength in Weakness
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Greetings again, and a very sincere “God bless you.”
We are nearing again the Christmas season, and you know as well as I all the wonderful Christmas decorations that are already up and the shop windows full of Christmas things, some of them with very special automation to depict different seasonal scenes.
I stood thinking in front of one of these stores where the window was full of animated elves and brownies; they were dancing round about. I stood there wondering why such a scene was given to depict our lovely Christmas. Such a scene to celebrate the birthday of our Christ, God’s Son!
I wonder why the manager at the store didn’t prefer to have the lovely manger scene, so beautiful and so appealing to the human heart. Why all the foolishness instead? Silly little brownies and elves dancing around and playing on little tin horns! Then I thought of the Bethlehem scene.
Perhaps that’s not the way after all that man would have revealed the great God. Man wouldn’t think of choosing such a way to have revealed God, or found any great movement such as Christianity in such a way. I stood there thinking of these things and I thought, Well, they would never think of choosing a wee babe, a manger, a carpenter’s bench. This is so contrary to the carnal mind. This would be a blow to man’s pride. It wouldn’t be man’s idea of showing the power and strength of a mighty God.
He says in His Word, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9). Then I thought about 1 Corinthians 1:27, where God’s Word says, “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise and the weak things to confound the mighty.”
Surely in this birth of God’s Son, this wonderful Bethlehem story, God has confounded the mighty. This isn’t the way man would have revealed God or founded any such great movement such as Christianity. They can’t comprehend that, and therefore to them it’s foolishness, just as those things I saw in the window were such foolishness to me, and they are foolishness to many of you that are listening in.
There are so many scriptures which reveal the mind of God in this particular matter. He says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” And also the Word of God says, “When I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9–10). Now this is all contrary to human logic and natural expectations, but God is showing that His way of doing things is quite contrary to human logic and natural expectations.
He is showing that His way of doing things is not at all our way. When He desired to manifest Himself, He took this tiny weak little babe and wrapped Him in human flesh. This wonderful truth, this glorious truth, He brought to us in His own way.
I wondered as I stood there, what is the lesson for me in all this? That God takes the foolish things to confound the mighty? Yes. But in Isaiah 27:5, God says, “Take hold of my strength.” And in Isaiah 49:5 it says, “My God shall be my strength.”
Oh, we hear so much talk today of our nation’s strength, and Russia’s strength, and we’re so proud that we’re ahead in this and that, and we have so much strength in this nation. But God, when He is ignored, often pours contempt on military strategy. In the past we have forgotten that He’s given the minority a victory so that we can learn the lesson that without Him we can do nothing.1
We feel that if we’re strong we’re surely going to win; the laws of heaven seem so foolish to us. But how many, many times God has given the victory to the minority in order to show the truth of His Word, that when we are weak, then we are strong! For as someone has so wonderfully said, “God and one are a majority.” God and a tiny handful are stronger than all the weapons. God and a tiny baby can transform the hearts of men and change the maps of the world.
When God works, He takes a worm to thrash a mountain, a tiny stick to crumble Horeb’s rock, and a tiny pebble to kill a giant, and thus He shows how little it takes if God is in it. Thus it is that the wise Christian will say, “I have no strength of my own. I can’t do these things alone; I have to have God’s strength and help. I must have God on my side.” Then because of your utter dependence on God and your utter helplessness, the Lord will come to your aid.
Oh, He’ll come with heavenly reinforcements and back you with all the resources of heaven, and the scripture is then fulfilled, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” It makes no difference whether the reliance is on our own strength or the strength of a nation; the Lord will leave us absolutely alone, to depend on that human strength alone until we learn how weak a thing it is.
How many times He’s brought us low in suffering or through some terrible trial just to show us what a weak thing we are. Whenever we get proud and dependent upon self, or go out in such self-assurance, then so many times He breaks down that strength. Proud human strength so often left to stand unaided in the very strength it was so sure of, stands alone until it learns its insufficiency without God. God has His strange way of balancing things.
This is why along the highway of life, the most beautiful souls you’ll ever meet, the most dedicated Christians, are those that have learned this lesson, and they’ve learned it many times in great suffering and weakness. They have known their lack, felt their weakness, and knew that their only help was from the Lord.
They would have to reach beyond all human strength and depend utterly upon the strength of their God. Thus they become emptied of self and humble like the wee babe in the manger. It is of them that God says then: “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Dear Lord, help us. We want to be humble before Thee, Lord, and we do ask for Thy strength, Thy wisdom to be manifest in our lives, and so we do humble ourselves before Thee, asking for this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
God bless you and make you a blessing.
- John 15:5.