As I started my sabbatical I had lots of plans to read, study, fast & pray. I was excited for the opportunity to go after God without any ministry commitments. It’s exciting to have a solid plan, but a real bummer when things don’t go according to plan. Needless to say my plans tanked with quickness.
In the first week I threw my back out. I was literally down for 3 weeks. I followed that up with a serious sinus infection and topped that off with a stomach virus. Those 5 weeks were the sickest I’ve been in years.
Laying on my couch I asked the Lord, “Why did you make men so feeble? I know we are wonderfully made, but one little tweak and I can’t walk. A little bug can completely incapacitate us. Couldn’t you have made our frame a little more sturdy?”
The tender answer came, “I made you weak on purpose. As weak as you are, still many people believe themselves to be a god. If I made you any stronger, all would believe themselves to be god.”
The next 6 weeks were an exercise in personal weakness. I couldn’t read the Bible without daydreaming. I’d pray, but my thoughts were scattered. I tried to study but every passage seemed like a dead end. I was dull and bland. I confessed to our staff that the only thing I could report about my sabbatical was how incredibly weak I am.
In March things begin to shift. I felt the nearness of the Lord again. My heart was moving. The dullness began to lift. The light of revelation began to shine and the Lord began to teach me about the connection between weakness and meekness.
Here’s a summary of those thoughts…I hope it blesses you.
Agreeing with and accepting the truth of your weakness as a human is the key to true meekness. The one who is meek knows that He is infirmed ane in need and therefore acts in humility. The one who is arrogant imagines himself to be strong and therefore acts with haughtiness.
If we’re honest, we don’t like weakness. It’s not pretty, desirable or esteemed. Yet everyone of us is clothed in it, subject to outside forces – ultimately frail.
Since we are so feeble, if something good is produced through us, it is evident that it is not from us. All that we “produce” of value is obviously a result of God’s enablement because of our deep deficiencies.
The implications of weakness are vast: Weak people are not surprised by their own failures. Weak people are not shocked by their shortcomings. Weak people have no problem esteeming others above themselves. Weak people have no problem blessing and serving others. Weak people don’t believe they are entitled to anything. Weak people start off low…never imagining themselves higher than another. Weakness is the foundation of meekness.
The crux of the matter, though, is our acceptance of weakness. Many people internally agree that they are weak, maybe even voice it, but spend their entire lives trying to prove their own strength. Though they agree that they are weak, they go to great lengths attempting to prove that they are not. Much emotional energy is spent and wasted by humanity trying to mask the truth of their weakness.
When Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart…” He was in effect saying, “Agree with me that you are weak, that you need my help, and you will, in turn, be meek like me.”
God’s meekness is the exact opposite of human meekness. He stoops, He bows, He lowers Himself. The One who is exceedingly high brings himself down. The One who has been exalted for all eternity became encased in flesh, subject to the finite. The One who is uncreated, eternal, everlasting humbled himself to drink down physical death. All of God’s acts of humility consist of Him lowering himself. For Him to interact with any of His creation, His first action must be to stoop.
We on the other hand are low, debased, sin-riddled, cut off and destroyed without God – infinitely inferior to our creator. While His humility starts with the truth of His exaltation, our humility begins with the truth of our neediness. Our growth in meekness continues as we are able to accept that fact.
How painful it is to accept our weakness, but how liberating it is to quit pretending we are strong. With the acceptance of weakness comes the grace to step into true meekness. In the freedom of meekness all pretension falls, performance fades and all our good is to the praise of the glory of His grace. We no longer strive to prove our strength. Instead we rest in the prospects of divine enablement.
You and I are weak, beloved. The sooner we accept it the sooner we will experience God’s strength made perfect through us. Paul, the mature apostle, told the Corinthians, “I delight in weaknesses…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” If we can delight in our weakness then God can be strong through us. If we delight in our weaknesses we are on our way to growing in Christ. Accepting weakness may be the strongest thing one can do. In our weakness His strength is made perfect. When you recognize your own weakness, drink it down to the dregs, and lean on the Lord for strength to stand.