A quality that most desire, but of which few have nearly enough, is strength. Does you mind’s eye immediately see a “Mr Atlas” type, exercising his calves — or the more popular term “gastrocnemius muscle” in the lower leg?” Or a female working to strengthen her biceps with weights for an upcoming competition? “Strength” is also used to define other assets in human beings, such as morality, mentality, reputation and others.
Let’s reverse our thinking and consider the concept of weakness being found in strength. Do you hear some saying “Huh!”? Yes, strength can be found in weakness. For example, in the vital and eternally important realm of spiritual growth.
A simple lesson for those who find themselves “in water over their heads” is found in a story about Judah’s King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20.
When the enemies of the people of God joined together to come against Jerusalem, the situation was actually hopeless. Jerusalem lacked the strength to resist this mighty force arrayed against it. Verse three tells us that “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.” His prayer reveals his awareness of God’s sovereignty and his own lack of strength.
As is customary for many prayers in the Old Testament, King Jehoshaphat begins his petition by praising the Lord for his sovereignty and power over every nation, including Judah’s enemies. He acknowledges his faith in God’s ability and willingness to “hear and save” them from calamity. Then he boldly lays their concerns before him, with a humble admission and confession.
“But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2 Chronicles 20:10-12). Judah was delivered, and its enemies were defeated in a great victory.
There is strength in weakness! This enabling truth is demonstrated over and over within the pages of Holy Scripture. Abram and his family traveling unerringly to a land they knew nothing about because of faith in God’s strength and guidance (Genesis 12). Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, but survived and prospered because God was in control (Genesis 37-50). The apostle Paul asked his heavenly father to eliminate the source of distress given to keep him humble (2 Corinthians 12). The answer he received is a powerful recommendation to which all God’s people should pay attention: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
If we want to serve faithfully, and win over Satan’s efforts to destroy us, we must learn where the power lies. It’s with God, isn’t it?