The Strength of Weakness

The Strength of Weakness

Several years ago, my family and I had the opportunity to visit California. One of the places we stopped to see was Yosemite National Park and the giant sequoias. These trees are considered to be the most massive living things on earth. Their size and longevity literally boggles the mind. The giant sequoias can live more than 1,000 years and equal a 26 story building in height. Its bark is impervious to bugs and is naturally flame retardant. Seeing these mammoth trees towering above you is an unforgettable experience.

The strengths of the sequoia are many. Perhaps its greatest strength is in fact its greatest weakness. It is easy to find pictures of loggers standing at the base of these evergreen giants. An enormous wedge is cut into them as they prepare to fell the mighty tree.  I can understand why loggers would gravitate to a tree weighing as much as 2.7 million pounds. That’s a whole lot of lumber from one tree! The reality is, there is an important reason lumberjacks did not clear the forests of the sequoia a hundred years ago. You see, the sequoia is so brittle that it is subject to shatter upon impact when cut down.

Consider that for a moment. Its greatest weakness is actually its greatest strength. Because of its weakness it has survived and many of those same trees that were passed over are still standing today. This unique characteristic of the sequoia reminds me of something the Apostle Paul wrote. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul is very transparent about personal difficulties and weaknesses. Three times he asked that they be removed. In verses 9 and 10 we read the answer the Lord gave and Paul’s response to it. The Bible reads,

  • “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Paul found strength in weakness because in his weakness the power of Christ was revealed. It is true for us as well. You too can know that same strength. ‘For when I am weak, then am I strong.’  It is our weaknesses that compels us to trust the Lord. It is our weaknesses that drives us to seek God. When we do, we find His grace is sufficient and His strength is perfect.