“I would have liked to have heard more about weakness.” Rose Marie Miller said these words at the end of a conference with the theme of “Faith, Power, and Weakness.” Miller recalls enjoying parts of the conference, while also not feeling well, and missing her late husband. “At one point I wanted to get up and shout, ‘Is no one here weak?’” she writes.
I can relate. One of the best conferences I’ve ever attended took place two years ago when I was feeling particularly weak. The theme of that conference was Sifted. Instead of speaking about their successes, speakers shared about their struggles and their weaknesses. You would think a conference like this would be depressing. Instead, I found it hopeful. As a weak person, I can relate.
“I would have liked to have heard more about weakness.” I wonder how often these words could be said at the end of a Sunday worship service? I’ve attended a lot of services. I’ve been weak at all of them. I’ve felt weak at some of them — the ones in which I’ve been accurate in my self-assessment. I have a feeling that a lot of people come to church weary, beat up, and weak, and are asking the same question Miller did: “Is no one here weak?”
The great thing about our weakness is that it is a great match for God’s strength. In their profound book Beloved Dust, Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel write, “Our great mistake is to see our brokenness, our finitude, and our sin as things that keep us from God rather than as opportunities to throw ourselves at the foot of the cross and grasp his grace.” Also:
Our fragility should lead us to trust in the One who is infinite. Our brokenness and weakness should lead us to glory in the fact that God listens to his dust and calls us beloved. Our weakness should lead us to proclaim God’s praise. It should harness reverence and delight in our hearts rather than frustration and discouragement.
We are weak, but we are beloved in our weakness. We were made to be weak from the start, and we’re even weaker as a result of sin. But God meets us in our weakness, and he calls us his own.
We’ve tried strong churches and strong pastors speaking at strong conferences. Maybe we need to try weak pastors preaching at weak churches about God’s grace that meets us not in the middle of our strength, but in our weakness. And how that grace really is better than any strength we could ever muster, and is readily available to any weak person who needs it.