When I Am Weak

“God created women to fill a need, to come alongside another in a way that lends strength and makes their burden lighter and easier.”

Lending strength. When we think of this aspect of being an ezer, the unspoken assumption can be that, out of our surplus we, “the strong ones,” strengthen others, “the weak ones.”

We imagine ourselves moving unilaterally from our place of strength toward one who is in a place of weakness, supplying what they lack. But recently I realized that that is not always the case.

I have a particularly dear and precious friend. Jane is a wife and mom, a former music teacher and accomplished pianist. Ten years ago a life-threatening illness spared her but also left her life transformed forever by the loss of nine fingers and both legs below the knee. In the years since, she has been a constant source of inspiration to many as she has persevered, learning to walk, and even drive, again. The challenges of daily life have been innumerable and unending, yet she has pressed forward and overcome. Through it all, her faith has been steadfast, her love for God sure. Countless numbers have been blessed as they’ve watched her live out Job’s testimony, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15).

The past year has been an especially hard one for my friend. Breast cancer reared its ugly head.  Treatment was endured, but other health issues were exacerbated. She fell and broke her leg on a rainy winter day. Isolation and weariness took their emotional tolls. Jane grew weaker.

The other day I took Jane to a doctor’s appointment. I knew she had called on me because I had strength she needed, and on that particular afternoon she was feeling especially weak. In very physical ways, I did supply strength: lifting and pushing her wheelchair, helping her maneuver through the visit. Knowing how she was feeling, I sought to lend emotional and spiritual strength as we talked. Together we pondered Abraham’s example of trusting God: how he unwaveringly faced the challenging facts of his situation and yet was strengthened in his faith (Romans 4:20-21). We talked of the struggle we each have to continually choose to believe God’s promises, and we shared what He has been teaching us in the midst of those struggles. By all appearances, on this day I was the stronger one, Jane most definitely the weaker.

But as the afternoon progressed, a beautiful reality began to emerge: out of her weakness, Jane was also lending strength to me!

No, it wasn’t physical strength. It was spiritual strength. As I watched her struggle to stand on uncomfortable prostheses, I was once again inspired by her courage and perseverance. As she testified to God’s faithfulness through dark days, I was humbled by the shining steadfastness of her faith. As she rejoiced over how God was encouraging her through study of His Word, I was reminded afresh of God’s powerful graciousness in the lives of His children. And as she spoke of her faithful and bold prayers for my loved ones, my own soul was comforted and strengthened.

Strength flowing from strength? Often that is the case. Strength flowing from weakness? Absolutely. God is not limited by what we have to offer each other. He can use us all, for ultimately it is His strength that we are ministering! “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). 

~Libby Thomas, Powdersville