Updated: Jul 6, 2020
"Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me,“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then,I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:8-10
It was day two of JJ’s life. We were sitting in the NICU and he was in his little NICU pod. We were reading stories to him and singing songs. We read children's books and we read him the story of King Josiah, his namesake. We started singing Jesus Loves Me. We got to the part where it says “we are weak, but He is strong” and right before we sang it, I got a lump in my throat. I couldn’t stop the tears that were coming and I couldn’t stop this overwhelming feeling that cried “God, I am so very weak. Thank you that you are strong”
On the night of Day 4, we put JJ to bed and sang to him once again “Jesus Loves me, this I know…. We are weak, but He is strong.” Hours later, JJ entered the presence of Almighty God. JJ started singing “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come.”
A podcast I heard soon after JJ went to be with Jesus was talking about grief and in talking about some major struggles with her own son’s health, she said, “I feel weaker than I’ve ever felt before, but I see a stronger Jesus than I’ve ever seen before.” So many times, I hear people say “wow, you are so strong.” “you are a strong mama,” and it’s so easy to let that puff me up and to think to myself, “yeah! I am strong! I can do this!” but the honest truth is that I am weak. I am so very weak. I am held together only (I can’t stress that “only” enough) on the grace and strength of my God who holds all things together.
I am constantly struck by 2 Corinthians 12 where Paul talks about the thorn in his side. It is not completely known what that was, but it was something that caused him great discomfort. He begs for God to take it away. Instead of taking it away, God reminds him that His grace is all that Paul needs. He does not need to be without pain. He does not need to be comfortable. In fact, he shouldn’t be comfortable. Paul feels weak, but that weakness forces Paul to point to Jesus Christ for his strength. He says “therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses…. For when I am weak, he is strong.”
Our pastor talked a few weeks ago about the need to establish a goal and then find the action steps required to achieve that goal. My goal in all of this is to point to Jesus and not let his trial be wasted. In my times of hope and my times of utter defeat, point to Jesus. This passage reminds me that the best way to magnify God’s strength is to boast in my weakness. So here it is...
I am weak. I have been so angry. I have been mean. I have been extremely selfish. I have convinced myself that God is taking away all of my hopes and dreams. I have had daily pity parties for myself. I have been annoyed with my grieving husband for no reason. I have thought to myself that no one’s problems are as bad as mine. I have wanted to hide in my house and never show my face. I have wanted to distance myself from the people who love me the most. I have been ashamed. I have been embarrassed. I have been filled with jealousy. I have believed so many lies of Satan.
But God… He is strong. He takes all of those weaknesses and uses them to point to Him. Any hope I have, any strength I have, any ability I have to stand on my own two feet is because of Jesus.
Not only is His grace sufficient, but He is so patient with me when I constantly forget that.
Grief changes you. I’ve experienced the power of God’s strength. I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses. When I am weak, He is strong.
I skipped part of the verse above. In between talking about boasting in weakness and acknowledging God’s strength in my weakness, Paul says, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.” In full transparency, that part I’m absolutely still working on. I cannot sit here and tell you I’m perfectly content with what happened eight months ago. I’m not content in my calamities right now. I am grateful for God’s strength. I know I couldn’t survive without it. But, I’m definitely not content in the fact that my baby died. Even having experienced the presence of God in the way that I have, in a way that I wouldn't have had my son not died, I would still rather it not have happened.
We were watching a video on grief and a grieving husband said “If someone asked me if I would want to have my wife back, I would definitely say no because I know what she is experiencing now.” When the video was over, Josh and I looked at each other and both said “my answer would be the opposite.” I want my baby back. I want JJ here on earth with me. Good thing God knows infinitely better than I do. It is a very good thing that God’s plan is better than my own. He is strong to remind me of how good JJ has it, even though I selfishly want him here in my arms.
This is a daily battle. I need this daily reminder that though I am so weak, He is so strong.