In My Weakness

The “Me” series was a lot to process, bringing much conviction of my sinful bent to love myself more than God.

But in the midst of all that conviction, Bill’s message on “Vanity: I Love/Hate My Body” brought an unexpected word of comfort to this older member of Grace Church. Near the end of the teaching, he cited one of those verses we all love: “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness,” 2 Corinthians 12:9. Bill’s commentary was that in our deficit of health and beauty, God has grace He wants to reveal to us – He is with us in our weakness. Suddenly, the words resonated for me personally: The life God wants to give me is not found in my strength, but in my weakness – the place where He meets me.

At age 57 I took up jogging – an odd pursuit for a woman who never claimed an athletic bone in her body. I had watched my daughter run some races and when I saw all runners of every age, something inside said, “I can do that.” So I joined a “couch to 5K” group and ran my first 5K in December 2009. Oh my goodness, it was strangely empowering. For the first time in my life, I felt physically strong, I mean really strong. An unexpected competitive streak emerged, surprising even me. Over the next few years, I continued to work at it, running numerous 5Ks and even checking off an unplanned bucket list item, the Cooper River Bridge Run. I was reveling in this newfound health and strength.

“The gospel’s good news is that it’s in that very weakness God will meet me in a new way.”

Five years into it, the body started pushing back. My knees hurt, my hip hurt, my sciatica hurt. I took a bad fall that set me back for awhile. It got harder and harder to continue even the minimal running that I was doing.  But the stubborn side of me kept trying, clinging fiercely to the feeling of strength I had come to love. Finally, when I fell and broke my wrists last October, I came to grips with what I knew God had been whispering for awhile, “it’s time to give it up.” Although I could no longer disagree, I felt weak and defeated, like a real wimp.

That Sunday, Bill’s words gave me a new lens through which to view the weakness I felt: Life is not found in my strength – in my ability to run a 5K – it is to be found in the weakness that forces me to quit running and depend all the more upon God.

The truth is, despite every effort to pursue physical strength, I will continue to grow weaker with age. If that becomes cause for despair, then my hope and identity have been misplaced. The gospel’s good news is that it’s in that very weakness God will meet me in a new way, giving me unexpected grace and life that is far more precious than the ability to run a couple miles. Furthermore, and unbelievably, He even says His power works best in my weakness. Looks like there will be lots of room for Him to work in the years to come! In my weakness, in His strength. Anyone want to join me for a walk over that bridge in Charleston?

– Libby Thomas, Powdersville

If you would like to learn more about how to view your body from a biblical perspective, you can register for our “Body Matters” study at your local campus. You can find the dates and times offered on the Grace Church website here.