Weakness is something we would all rather ignore, hoping it’s a temporary state, a passing phase we can press through, fuelled by extra food, supplements or caffeine, perhaps. Because who among us would choose to be seen as weak, never mind feel like it?
But what if it doesn’t leave us? What if weakness comes to take up permanent residence (accompanied by its familiar friends: weariness and pain), what then? How do we manage a life where we always feel weak and unwell? A life constrained by chronic illness, with constant reminders of our frail human state?
Only by grace. Only by resting instead of resisting. Only by honestly admitting how hard it is and how much we need God’s healing touch, His all-encompassing compassion and endless love. Then we can start to have a change of heart. Then we can begin to accept how we are situated and live as well as possible within our limitations. And seek the help and support we need.
I don’t like yielding to these symptoms again
I don’t like not being able to do what I’ve planned
I don’t like missing out on a bright sunny day
I don’t like having zero energy to engage
I don’t like piercing pain, hurting all over
I don’t like feeling exhausted, weak as water
There’s a resentment inside, a sense of defeat as my
body becomes invaded again and I have to retreat from
everything, give in to this and hope it’s not long-lasting
As I lay curled up in my bed, with sharp stabs of pain
accompanied by a sinking spirit, I begin to slowly unwind
and sense the sweet invitation of your gentle presence
It helps to still my anxious thoughts and gives me hope that
this particular episode of weakness will eventually pass, and
I will hurt a bit less than today when I become stronger again
Although my bedroom is necessarily dim, quiet and dark
I still carry your love-light in my heart, and the soft whisper
of your persistent voice rises above my own inner noise
I begin to sense calm peacefulness flooding my soul
as I listen and slow, getting ready to let go now and
receive your restoration and healing, renewed strength
For those who think that the state of being weak, broken, hidden and small are words they don’t want said about them, God has news for you.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” – James 4:10 (NIV)
We don’t always realise it to start with, but there is beauty in brokenness. Humility grows in small, lowly places. Hiddenness remains very much seen by God. Stillness is where spiritual listening dwells and excels, as our souls grow accustomed to slowing down.
Our ashes become God’s success stories. Our brokenness is where God’s grace and strength are manifest best. Instead of being something to dread or reject, our weakness is a surprising pathway to spiritual surrender and growth.
Our fragility is a conduit for the comfort, peace and love only God can give to our hurting hearts. It is also a gift throwing us in greater dependence on God’s mercy and grace.
I wrote the prayer/poem above when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by the deep bone weariness, fatigue and pain of M.E. I’m sharing it today in support of M.E Awareness Day and Week. Now I see the lines like a red warning sign reminding me to rest myself in the Lord more than before. Maybe you need a reminder too, my friend?
“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness..”