Ever since I wrote that blog from two weeks ago, this concept has really been on my heart. We are limited, weak, and broken.
But. Maybe that’s okay.
Okay, its not “a good thing”, but maybe, just maybe, God can and does use our weaknesses. Maybe He can redeem them?
Ironically, today’s second reading at Mass has something kind of crazy to say.
“Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.”
How often have I told God that I can’t do something? I’m too young, I’m not like her, I’m not good enough.
And I am weak, limited, and wounded.
For example–I’m impatient! Why is my computer so slow? clickclickclickclick*
I’m secretly stubborn, I mean, I’m adaptive, but I’m going to try and fix this excel spreadsheet problem by repeating the same incorrect steps over and over again for a bit, because I’m stubborn and I don’t even know it.
Even practically speaking, I’m limited. I’m just one person. I can’t answer the phone and the doorbell at the same time. I coordinate volunteers, but I can’t control if someone is going to get sick or just not show up. I can’t bi-locate or control minds. Waa!
And its a common problem we all face. Maybe you can’t articulate the Good News of the Gospel to your class or friend. Or maybe you’ve been wounded with a past of partners who used you like an object or cheated on you.
How do we respond? Well, my prayer is often a lot like Paul’s. At one point, Paul says that he asked the Lord three times to heal him of a persistent problem he’d been having. Does God take it away? No. God responds, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Um what? You know what I imagine Paul saying back? “Um. Dude. Why do you have to make my life so hard?” (What’s “dude” in Hebrew?)
And, again, its not a good thing that Paul is weak, limited, and wounded. But! God comes to redeem it and make it something better than it was before.
I mean, what is the Incarnation, anyway? Jesus doesn’t come to “redo” humanity. Instead, He takes on our humanity. He suffers and dies but rises, again, in a gloried body.
But, here’s something kind of crazy about that. Did Christ rise from the dead with a completely new body? No. In fact, Thomas puts his fingers in Christ’s wounds. Christ’s body is glorified—but he keeps his wounds. Why? Because, Jesus wants to encounter us in our wounds. He wants to tell us, “Hey, be not afraid. I’ve been there. I haven’t come to judge you, or even change what makes you, you. I’ve come to redeem and glorify what makes you, you.”
Okay. That’s cool. But why does God use the weak? Why am I still weak, limited, and wounded?
Well, first off, my issues make me incredibly aware of my need for God. God uses those who are poor in the sight of the world because those are the people that come to Him for help. People who are “rich” or “intelligent in the eyes of the world” never turn to God, because they don’t realize they need Him.
Here’s the thing. None of us our good enough and we’re all struggling with weakness. Its just that those who are poor in the eyes of the world are more likely to see that.
If I were perfect, a complement about my last blog would have made me boast, “Look at what I did God!”. Instead, I realized that it wasn’t me who did anything. God worked through me. Therefore, I had the opportunity to turn to God for help, thank Him, and encounter Him in a deeper way.
Likewise, a catechist and friend of mine expresses frustration with her kids not paying attention. One week, she felt like she made a breakthrough with a parent. She realized it wasn’t anything she did—it was the Lord. If she had not recognized her weakness, she would have never gloried God in that moment of the breakthrough.
Our weaknesses allow us to turn to God in our need, see God work through us, make us grateful, and bring us closer to Him. Fundamentally, that is kind of the point, right?
Not only that, but our weaknesses can actually show God’s glory to the world. Peter was a impulsive fisherman who denied His best friend, Jesus, three times. Paul persecuted Christians. Moses had some serious speech issues. But, Peter became Pope, Paul is one of the most important authors of Scripture, and Moses set Israel free from Egypt.
Because, “where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more”. Our weaknesses give God the chance to show His power through us. Look at the Church! The history of the Catholic Church is full of 2000 years of weak and sinful people, but it still stands today.
My only obstacle to letting God show his glory through me is to limit His power by saying He can’t work through my issues. But that’s crazy–God is God and I am not that powerful.
So your too broken or wounded? Christ comes to redeem our brokenness. Its easier to help someone who doesn’t feel like their good enough if you’ve also, at times, struggled with not feeling good enough. Its easier for a mother who seeks mercy after an abortion to seek consolation in another woman who’s been there, too. Its easier to fight depression and loneliness when your with someone who has had that same struggle.
Again, after the resurrection, Jesus keeps His wounds. Not because His wounds are a good thing, but because He’s showing us how He redeems our wounds. He tells us,”Be not afraid. I’ve been there.”
Sometimes, I get really excited about something God might be calling me too. But then I pull back in fear. I want to tell God that I can’t do it. I’m too weak, too limited, too wounded.”What if I fail?” “What if they don’t even like me?” “You know God, if you made me like this person, that’s be great, yeah.”
But, these are really just excuses. It just shows I don’t trust that God’s grace is sufficient for me.
We’re weak, limited, and wounded and that’s okay. Because, Christ comes to work through our limits and weaknesses. Because, Christ comes to redeem our wounds.
We only have to let Him.