My God-Given Weaknesses

Like I wrote yesterday, reading the Bible in a different language makes you notice some different things than usual. For instance, I was reading John 9 a couple days ago about the blind man that Jesus healed, and I had a thought that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind. So, here it goes onto the blog…

Remember the first reaction the disciples had to the blind man? “Who did sin…” They asked Jesus a question concerning the most popular teachings on blindness of their day. There were only two possibilities in their mind: 1) this man sinned, or 2) his parents sinned. Being with the Son of God, they decide they’ll get the answer to this age-old question.

As He sometimes does, Jesus answers, “None of the above.” He says, “He’s blind so that the works of God can be shown in him. So that I can be glorified in Him.” Every time I’d read this before, I had sat back in relief, seeing what a good God we have. Isn’t that nice to know? God wasn’t punishing this man, He was just looking for glory-opportunities. For me anyways, this verse became a reliable answer text. In the short time that I’ve been here in China, I’ve had to use this verse a couple of times to show students that weakness, handicaps, and misfortune isn’t directly related to sin. But this time when I read…

I got angry for the blind guy! How long has he been laying there? Years and years. He was blind from his birth. He had lived in poverty, misery, shame, and guilt every day of his life. And all this time he blamed himself. Or maybe his parents. But Jesus’ answer must strike him with something less than relief. It wasn’t his sin after all, huh? So it WAS God’s fault! Unlucky lottery – God just chose him to be “the blind guy.” Why? Because God wanted glory out of his life? That’s fine, he’s all for God’s glory, but God decides that HE has to lay there helpless and miserable for years and years.

Not sure why this strikes me so personally. Maybe because I enjoy running my mouth about God’s glory. There’s a big list of things I’d love to do for God’s glory. But sometimes the things we’d like to do for God just aren’t the things He asks us to do. Sometimes He has strange ways to bring Himself glory. Like blindness. Who’d pick that off a list? I’m pretty sure when I ask God to glorify Himself through me, I’m not trying to volunteer for years of sorrow and weakness. But it turns out, the greater our weakness, the greater His glory. And like the blind man, God is expecting to receive glory from some of my God-given weakenesses.

Not a day goes by that I don’t ask God to glorify Himself in China. But am I really ready for what that means? I’m ready for God to use my strengths. But that has a tendency to glorify ME. His glory is from our weakness. As Paul said, “His strength is made perfect in weakness.” It’s a challenge for me to remember that when I see weakness in myself or a weakness in others, I ought to see an opportunity for God to glorify His name. That’s the real answer to the “why” of “weakness.”

So there’s millions of lost Chinese? WHY?
So the “right people” won’t listen? WHY?
So everything must be done in hiding? WHY?
So I can’t speak Chinese? WHY?
So I’m not a natural leader? WHY?

One Comment on “My God-Given Weaknesses”

  1. Jason Kenney August 11, 2007 at 10:20 pm #

    That was awesome and convicting. First time looking at your blog and look forward to hearing more about what God is doing through you.
    Take care.

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