Sometimes I’ve felt that my weaknesses disqualify me from being useful to God. Sometimes wished that God would just snap his fingers and make every issue disappear. Sometimes I’ve questioned Him, wondered why He allows the struggles, begged and pleaded for him to fix me. Wished I was stronger, bolder, braver.
Recently I was reminded of a Scripture I love where Paul the Apostle (tough guy, amazing writer, hero of the faith) was complaining to God about something he calls his "thorn".
We don't know what his thorn was, but it was obviously bugging him. It was something that seemed to make life harder for him, and in his mind he would be much better off if God would just fix the problem.
However, God has other ideas. He says to Paul:
Or, as another version puts it: "My power shows up best in weak people!"
"My grace is sufficient for you; my strength is made perfect in weakness..." 2 Corinthians 12:9
I love this. It's been the theme of my life. God doesn't choose me or use me because I am talented, qualified, clever or trouble-free. He uses me because He knows I am weak, I have issues, struggles, I walk with a limp.
Then, when I manage to do or say something that helps others or makes a difference in the world, people go: "Huh? She did that?? That scaredy cat? The shy girl who used to get picked on at school? The girl who panics in crowds and is on anti-depressants?? Heck, if she can do that, maybe I can!!"
She carries a pearl in perfect condition
What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things
But it's like the oyster.
If we let Him, God can turn the things that are our hurts, our struggles and our disappointments into the very thing about us that is our gift to the world.