I haven’t met a student who would describe themselves as feeling in a strong position, a place of being secure and sorted, when it comes to exam season and the end of term degree slog.
Most people are quite openly admitting to being weak right now: weak at disciplining themselves to get up and work, physically weak from not enough sleep and too much junk food, weak essay structure, weak effort on the reading list, going weak at the knees at the thought of exams, let alone graduation.
We are living in weakness, running off the hope that it must end soon so keep your head down and push through.
I have been learning a lot about weakness this month. 2 Corinthians 12 has particularly encouraged me, when Paul speaks about having a ‘thorn in his flesh’ that won’t go away, even though he had asked God three times to remove the cause of pain and discomfort from his life. Instead of taking Paul out of the suffering, God lets Paul remain acutely aware of his weakness, instead telling him,
“My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.”
Paul’s response to this is amazing. Could we respond like this in the midst of exam pain, work stress, life-overload?
“I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).”
Imagine the power of God, Jesus’ presence, pitching a big old tent over you as you sit in the library, at your desk, in the exam hall. It’s a bit of a mind-melt to realise that by raising your hand and owning your weakness, being honest and vulnerable that life is hard and faith doesn’t equal an easy ride, actually brings more of God’s power over your life.
I think I’m going to try this one out. Tell the next friend I’m hanging with about my weaknesses, and trust God will impact them with his power in my life despite me being ever so human. Who can you share this blog with who needs to hear this message too? No time like the present.
God bless you in your weakness. Let us be grateful for the strength of Jesus.
Photo Credit: Piotr Mamnaimie