Monday, February 21, 2011
Power in Weakness
I do not, however, play basketball. If I have any grace and strength, those qualities flee when I take a basketball in my hands. Team sports and I never quite connected in a meaningful way. After nearly two decades of marriage, my husband should know this. And yet...a few weeks ago, I opened my email to find the unwelcome announcement from my son's basketball coach that he had scheduled a mother/son basketball game. Did I neglect to mention that my husband coaches my son's team?
For two weeks, I dreaded that game. I pouted, whined and tried to weasel out, but the night of the big game found me glowering in the car on the way to the gym. Far outside my comfort zone, smack in my weak spot, this game held little promise of the great fun my husband gleefully anticipated.
To my credit, I left my pouting courtside and threw myself into the game. I even made a couple of baskets, although I avoided dribbling at all costs. We had a grand time, and I was laughing too hard to slap the smug grin off my husband's face. Drat that man!
In the days leading up the game, I contemplated my aversion to my own weaknesses. I love feeling strong, physically and emotionally. I love to succeed, to work my way to the top of the mountain and breathe in the view. And yet, that annoying voice inside me, the voice that sounds rather like my husband, reminded me of the power of weakness.
Paul, the little apostle of immense courage who stood boldly before kings, proclaimed, "When I am weak, then am I strong." He recognized that the strength of the Lord was made perfect in the weakness of his servants. This same God wrapped His greatest treasure, His most potent force, in the body of a tiny baby and sent that baby to the home of a lowly carpenter. This same God, Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty."
I have not yet reached the point where I readily, like Paul, glory in my weaknesses. But I confess to a fascination with the concept of weakness as power. Ether, the Book of Mormon prophet, quotes the Lord in what is, to me, one of the most hopeful verses in all of scripture: "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
The strength that I admire, the strength of Paul and Peter and all the truly great men and women, comes only when we acknowledge our weaknesses in humility and exercise the faith necessary to allow the Lord to transform them. God is, after all, the master alchemist. Who am I to let a little fear of failure stand in the way of the treasure God could make of my life? Let's play ball!