For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). This is a peculiar verse in the Bible spoken by the Apostle Paul. It clearly did not make sense to me when I was nine, but it is now one of the most precious verses I hold on to, today. I would like to address how this statement began to make sense to me.
I was raised in a Christian family I professed faith in Jesus early in life. However, living out this faith was not so easy! My world came crumbling down when my father had a massive stroke on December 29th, 2002. I saw my hero, my best friend – my Dad, battle for life in the hospital. Tears rolled down my face as I saw him lie there helplessly. The impact of the stroke left him in a coma for almost 21 days, and left him completely paralyzed on the right side. The nurses at the hospital told my mother to be prepared for the worst. What could be the worse, I thought? This was bad enough. As far as I knew, I had been faithful in praying, loving God, going to church and reading the Bible. Why would something like this happen to my Dad? Didn’t God love me? Didn’t he love my Dad? What wrong did he do to suffer this? All these thoughts made me angry with God, left me questioning Him and His authority.
The following year took a toll on the family. My maternal grandparents who always supported us, stepped up to really care for us when they saw the intensity of our difficulties. However, they themselves were so devastated at the news of Dad’s illness, it left them broken. My grandmother had a massive heart attack, and collapsed in my mother’s arms six months later. This devastating loss completely completely broke my grandfather, and he also died forty five days later.
The impact of all these events left me confused, frustrated, bitter and very angry with God. I just could not understand His purpose in all this. Every day became a struggle. It was difficult to carry on. By this time I was only ten years old, yet I was forced to take on some adult responsibilities such as helping to manage relationships, finances, and other needs of our family. Sometimes it was really hard facing judgments, and the world. I remember several days when I didn’t want to wake up and get out of bed. I just wanted to pull the sheets and cry all day. It was difficult to know and believe, that there was a God who love and cared for me the way the Bible claimed He did.
Months turned to years, and I spiraled into a deep sense of hopelessness. My studies were affected, and the only thing I could perceive was how unfair my life was. As this point my mother recognized that I needed something to take my mind off my immediate situation, and my aunt and uncle lovingly invited me to stay with them for a few months in Thailand. They invested many many hours, encouraging me to read the Bible and to pray. This time helped me clear my mind and to look at my circumstances from a different perspective. I went back with renewed hope. My mother continued to teach me to put my hope in God because God was real, and He felt our pain and was always willing to love us even in our sin. The fact that my Mom was telling me these things in the midst of her own struggles, made a deep impact on me. Watching her demonstrating her own faith in her circumstances had a great impact on me, reinforcing the lessons I had been taught – lessons that are now etched in my mind, for which I am profoundly grateful. So at some point as an early teenager, I decided to trust my own life into Jesus’ hands again. I began to understand that God had a purpose for me in loving and caring for my family.
As God began to open my eyes about His love for me, I slowly began to yield to His power and authority in my life. I wanted Him to take control of every aspect, especially my broken past, and to transform me into the woman He wanted me to be. The Bible sometimes describes God as a Potter, and I wanted to be the kind of clay that He could easily mold into any vessel He wanted to make me to be (Jeremiah 18:6). I am still a work in progress but I feel secure, because my life is under the care of a God who is deeply concerned with every aspect of my life.
I love the words of the song that my mother shared with me, called “Keep Me In Your Will” by Jessica King:
Remind me Lord, I am just a glove In which you place Your hand. Not my will but Yours be done Though I may not understand. The best laid plans I've made Somehow always go astray. Lord keep me in your will, So I won't be in your way
Looking back at all those years of pain and hurt, I see God choosing to love me and use me in spite of my anger and brokenness. Now I am beginning to understand the meaning of Paul’s words that I mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Here is a YouTube link to my testimony: