Life is very different for my wife and I in this season of our journey. Through it, we are rediscovering identity, meaning and purpose as we travel with weakness and the revelation of ‘the power of weakness and the weakness of power’. The revelation that God works through our weakness and woundedness.
It is both fascinating and challenging to note that Christ’s key point of self-identification after the resurrection and in heaven was His wounds (see Revelation 5:6-14). In the post-resurrection accounts in Luke and John when the disciples were uncertain as to whether the person standing before them was Christ, He identified Himself by simply saying:
"Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.
Christ affirmed His identity to the disciples through His wounds. It was what Thomas stated would be the convincing factor for him that Christ had truly risen, that it was truly Christ. Jesus asked them to look at His wounds, to touch them, in order to verify it was truly Him.
His wounds are a source of resurrection life and hope and we too can experience resurrection life and hope through our wounds and brokenness. The cross is a journey through woundedness to resurrection life and hope. In that magnificent chapter in Isaiah fifty-three, it was prophesied that Jesus, the suffering Messiah, would be ‘pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed’ (verse 5).
It took woundedness on the part of Christ, to create our healing. God’s ways are not our ways. The price and pathway for healing, forgiveness and new life, was through His wounds.
The Apostle Paul experienced a powerful ministry, yet he also was a wounded warrior. When the Apostle Paul asked the Father to remove His ‘thorn in the flesh’, He was told that, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Paul’s response was,‘Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me’. (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)
I have learnt over the years, that my wounds, my weaknesses, become a point of identification with people, through which God’s resurrection life and power can flow and be expressed to them, bringing hope and healing. Therefore, we should not be afraid or ashamed of our wounds or weaknesses (we are not referring to sin but our frail humanity), knowing that the treasure we contain - the resurrection life of Christ, dwells within ‘jars of clay’ :
In our western culture we value perfection over imperfection. This is clearly seen in the medium of advertising and modelling where we airbrush people on and in magazines to cover the least imperfection. In some cultures, an imperfection can lead to becoming an outcast. We must take care even in church culture, in the ‘pursuit of excellence’, to not shun weakness because God doesn’t.
God demonstrates throughout Scripture and history, that He marries power with weakness and frail humanity to bring about His redemptive purposes. Just look at the twelve Jesus chose! This equation is seen in His working through men and women in Scripture such as Abraham, Moses, Gideon, David, Peter and many more. God is greater than our wounds and weaknesses!
The word for ‘weakness’ in 2 Corinthians 12:9 is astheneia (as-then’-i-ah) conveying the meaning of lacking in and needing strength due to weakness or an infirmity, whether of body or soul. Also it can convey the idea of being frail. It derives from the word asthenes (as-then’-ace) meaning to be weak, feeble, and infirm. This word is not a reference to sin, but simply to our human frailty which God works His power in and through, so he gets the glory.
We need to embrace our humanity as much as we need to embrace His resurrection life; to allow God to infuse our weaknesses with His power because only then can we offer a broken world hope.
One of my favourite pass-times as a kid was writing. I used to make my own books and write poetry on our old type-writer. Thankfully both my writing and technology have come a long way!
It is my prayer that these posts from both myself and guest contributors encourage you to embrace the season that you are in and to live it with purpose for God's glory.
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