You may feel powerless right now in the face of the pandemic and impact that it has had socially and economically upon you and our society. You may feel weak. You may feel scared. You may doubt that in the face of trying to stay away from others (at home or however you must do it) that you have anything to offer others let alone manage to get through this without losing your mind (or duct-taping the kids to the wall; please, don’t do that, by the way). The awareness of weakness is not something we enjoy intrinsically. But there is some tremendous value in it and there is reason to give thanks for it.
For one thing, our smallness is rarely clear to us until we come up against something bigger. For some, it is happening right now for the first time in the face of COVID-19 pandemic. Not only is it bigger than any one of us, but it has reared its imposing head over nations and their leaders and is proving to be unpredictable upon whom it inflicts its wrath and those it doesn’t. Only now are some realizing that they do not have all the answers and their stature is tiny in the shadow of a worldwide epidemic.
For another thing, our selfishness is seldom revealed until we find ourselves threatened. We could, on the one hand, fearfully look out only for ourselves, hoarding and hating anyone who competes for the resources we reach for. Fight or flight are instincts that we may be powerless to stop from taking us over as our adrenaline pumps throughout our bodies and we live as if we are at war with the world.
Additionally, our weakness is not typically apparent to us unless we are attempting something that we simply cannot do. In the case of the Corona virus, we thought we could stop it, some thought they could survive it, some thought they could cure it. While it is to be hoped that by God’s mercy a cure may yet be found, this sickness has surged throughout the world infecting and killing many.
But these same conclusions could happen to any of us individually at any time anyway. It does not take the virus to reveal our smallness, selfishness, or weakness. Those things were only invisible to us because of our complacency and our inclination to simply not think about it. It could be cancer that reveals these things. It could be losing a job. Or a spouse. Or a child. It could be failure to have lived the life we had dreamed of living.
In any of these crises (worldwide or personal), there comes a moment of reckoning when we have to deal with the fact that being merely human is sometimes a hard thing to be. But it is only as defeating to us if we only look so far. If we look beyond the bigness of life, of problems, of failure, and look to the God of creation Who is steering the events of history in accordance to a master plan and that He has our welfare in mind, we realize that the bigness of our problems are infinitesimally small in comparison to the God Who reigns.
The staggering implications of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:25-33 is that the strength and commitment of God in taking care of you is unimaginable beyond your ability to take care of you.
Furthermore, Jesus says in Luke 12:6-7, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” If God is taking care of little things, God will take care of you.
Our weakness is a blessing in this respect: it paves the way for us to seek God. Of course, it does not guarantee that we will seek Him necessarily for His own sake. We might content with being satisfied with merely hoping that He’ll help us in our problems, overcome our obstacles, provide for our lack, or protect us from what scares us. But what He desires to do instead and uses weakness to prepare our hearts for is that we look to Him, perceive His great love and power, and come to love Him in return. There may be times when He does not save you from your problem, but would still use it to teach you to trust Him and to lean upon Him, learning His strength and compassion.
“To keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 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 12:7-10 ESV).
It is not likely that we are going to quickly be contented with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities, but when we remember how such limitations can teach us to turn our heavenly Father, suddenly they lose their strength in our lives. Are you troubled? Turn to God; He is lord. Are you anxious? Trust in Him: He is working. Are you weak? Yes, you are, but He is strong.
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” ( Romans 8:37-39 ESV).
Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 24 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com.” Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.