The Myth of My Strength

Do you consider yourself a strong or a weak woman?

For years I considered myself a strong woman. As a teen, I flexed my biceps, challenged guys to arm-wrestling matches, and re-arranged my heavy bedroom furniture by myself. In my twenties, I scheduled an activity on my calendar every night of the week and wrote a book on the side while continuing to work full-time. I always, always pushed through.

But then I had an Isaiah 40:30 fall. My doctor said I was strong to have made it as long as I did. I wasn’t so sure.“God,” I asked, “Do You think of me as weak or strong? And how should I think of myself?”

Taking Cues from a “Strong” Man and a “Weak” Man

I went to His Word for answers, starting with the strongest man I could think of: Samson. You know the one—tearing a roaring lion to pieces with his bare hands, striking down 1,000 enemies with a donkey’s jawbone, pushing down a house killing 3,000 party-goers.

Here’s the surprising pattern I found. Just before Samson displays great strength, the Spirit of the LORD rushes upon him (Judges 14:6, 19; 15:14).

It was always God’s strength Samson displayed; never his own. God is the strong One. Even strong Samson was weak apart from God.

Then I re-read the familiar story of David and Goliath. Anyone observing the battle scene that day would’ve put their money on the intimidating war champion Goliath, not the young, inexperienced David. Goliath had complete confidence in his strength; David had complete confidence in his living God. And at the end of the short fight, David was the unlikely victor.

I Am Weak, But He Is Strong

Funny how many times I’ve gotten it mixed up. Have you, too, lives as if you were strong and God was weak? Nothing could be further from the truth:

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable” (Isa. 40:28).

God’s strength will never, ever give out. Our strength, on the other hand, is finite. What freedom that realization brings.

Strength comes when we first own up to our own weakness. (That’s ’cause we don’t tend to rely on God when we consider ourselves strong.) But in our weakness, as we depend on our strong God, His strength flows through to us. Catch Paul’s personal testimony of this:

“We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again” (2 Cor. 1:8–10).

And then there’s my favorite passage from this past month,

“He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint” (Isa. 40:29–31).

How is this strength-for-weakness exchange possible?

Strong Made Weak; Weak Made Strong

It’s all because the Strong One was made weak so we, the weak, could be made strong. Check out this baffling verse:

“The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:25).

“The weakness of God”? But God isn’t weak. Well, look at the context, and you’ll see this verse refers to the cross. The world sees Jesus hanging there exposed and bleeding and spits, “Weakness.”

But those of us who are being saved gaze at the cross and shout, “Strength.”

God the Son refused to save Himself so He might save us. The Strong One was made weak so we, the weak, can be made strong.

What weakness can you boast about today? How might God want to showcase His strength through your particular weakness?

Don’t get it mixed up like I did.

We are weak, but He is strong.

The Myth of My Strength” was originally posted on TrueWoman.com.