Strength Through Weakness

When you think of a person who is strong, what automatically comes to mind? For many, they might think of strength in terms of emotional tolerance. When difficulties arrive, that person seems not to be shaken by life’s circumstances. Still, others think of strength in terms of physical prowess. A picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger flexing his biceps, a mark of countless hours dedicated to the gym (I’m thinking of Arnold in his prime, not now)!

While strength comes in a variety of forms, how can our weaknesses become our strengths?

The Apostle Paul gives us great insight into this very question. Paul was a man full of strengths and flourished in the gifts that God had given him. He had natural advantages of being a “Hebrew of Hebrews” – coming from a Jewish lineage of the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5). In addition, he learned under the most respected Rabbi of the day, Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Paul possessed a zeal and a work ethic beyond anyone in his day, and his writings inspired by the Holy Spirit cover 1/3 of the New Testament. When we look at Paul’s life, it’s natural to think, “Paul is the man!”

Despite all of this, Paul says, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness” (2 Corinthians 11:30). And in another letter, Paul states, “I once thought these things (his strengths) were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done (Philippians 3:7).

Why the change in tone, Paul? 

 It’s all because Christ’s power is made perfect in weakness. 

It’s too easy to ‘share the credit’ with God when we operate out of our strengths or think that we have accomplished something great on our own. Yet when we serve, love, give, and speak out of our weaknesses, Christ gets ALL the credit. In moments of weakness, we can’t even believe God uses us! However, that’s where we will shine the brightest. Although we may be trembling as we embrace our frailties, insecurities, and struggles, it is worth the difficulty since our weaknesses empty ourselves of us and so that “Christ’s power may rest on you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Now it’s my turn to share about one of my current struggles: loneliness. It can be difficult being a Pastor and having very few friends with who I can be vulnerable, and let alone, share the same personal interests. I realize that some of the struggles come with the territory since I do not have a regular schedule. While most people get the weekends off, that is my time to gear up for ministry. As a result, I get a day off when most people work: Wednesdays. Many people are focused on the daily grind, so meeting up with others after their work is not ideal.

On top of that, my wife and I are currently reaching our mid-30s and have no children as of yet. Our unique stage of life makes us too ‘old’ as peers for those in their 20s, and since we do not have children, it is difficult to relate to those families in their 30s.

As a result, I spend most of my days off by myself for the last couple of years. Amid my circumstances, I have a choice to make: I can either complain and let the loneliness get to me or be constructive and use my time wisely. It’s through my weakness of loneliness that birthed what you see here: my writing.

I felt the Lord calling me to write… so what better time to do it than on my day off? During this time of “loneliness”, I spent it with the Lord. I wrote an interactive journal book called “Write the Vision” on helping others listen to the Holy Spirit and started writing weekly on my blog. Although it can still be difficult and far from perfect in my pursuit of Christ, I can glorify the Lord through my weakness as I write to encourage others in the faith.

While I could continue with my other weaknesses, I want to direct the attention back to you. What are the areas of weakness, hardship, frailties, or disadvantages that you have? What difficult circumstances are you currently facing? As you ponder on these struggles, ask the Holy Spirit in what ways he can get the glory through them. We cannot simply wait for our lives to get better before God uses us; we can be a faithful witness during our weak points to point others to God and demonstrate that He is indeed good through it all. Do you want Christ’s power to rest on you? Then embrace your weaknesses for Christ’s sake, “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).


  1. Godly truth that exalts the Lord. Appreciate so very much you using your God-given gift in a way that glorifies the Lord and not yourself. That is a rarity in the spiritual climate we now live in. Don’t ever lose that, Nathan. Stay true. Guard your heart. The Lord has His hand upon you to use you. Pass the tests He gives. Be encouraged!

  2. Your blog almost made me cry-and I am not one to cry easily. You are anointed and right where God wants you to be. This window of time is a blessing and taking you down a path of your future. I can totally relate and am very encouraged by what you have to say, so keep saying it! God bless you!!

    • Thank you Barbara for your kind words! Yes, I do believe that this is a window of blessing in so many ways, so it’s important to remember that, especially when times get tough. I appreciate your encouragement and God bless you and your family as well!

  3. Nathan, my weakness is the opposite of yours, I tend to isolate and stay alone by choice. It’s a struggle to participate with events at church or just calling up a friend and say let’s go to lunch. And the activities I choose are easy to do by myself I run, work out, ( I have a gym in my garage) bike and hike . I do spend time almost every day studying the Bible, and I go to a Bible study.
    And unlike you, my writing skills are not that good LOL. I don’t know how to end this comment, so I’m just gonna say thank you for bringing the subject up and I pray for your struggles as well as mine .
    Linda Chism

    • As you pointed out, we all have different weaknesses. Being part of the Body of Christ means we have different gifts, but also different struggles! It’s a good reminder to know that we all have areas God challenges us and encourages us to grow in to be more like Christ. Thank you for your prayers and I’ll be praying for you as well Linda.

  4. Thank you, Pastor Nathan, for being transparent and vulnerable through your blog, an example of the very strength in weakness you write about. You encourage me as I, too, am in a season of hardship and struggle and sometimes start going down that rabbit hole of despair. But as I lean more on Jesus than on my own understanding and find myself waist-deep in that hole, our loving God pulls me out and I’m back on solid ground. I often turn to a song, “Blessings” by Laura Story, to remind myself to ask “What if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights are Your (God’s) mercies in disguise.” The answer is always in our good, good Father.

    • Hi Patty! Thank you very much for sharing and I’m glad the post encouraged you through this season of hardship you are facing. I love that illustration of our God pulling us out of the hole – whatever that may be for each of us – to have us stand firm on His foundation. I truly believe each season is a time for us to learn, to pass tests, and to grow in Christlikeness. Yet many times we don’t like the trials that are used to shape us! As you mentioned, it is pivotal to remember the character of God when we are focused on ourselves or our circumstances. I’ll look up the song too!

  5. Your best yet Pastor. A couple of anecdotes to share. A friend of mine was invited to lunch with a wealthy person who is a Christian. They stated you must be lonely on Wednesday since you have time to Blog, so they should invite you to lunch too. You answered that one STRAIGHT UP in your blog and in my mind to digress to the vernacular.
    I know many wealthy people and a few at the church who are wealthy with their relationship with Christ. I marvel at this state of being.
    I felt better knowing weak is not exclusive or makes you a loser or on an escalator to meet Satan. The hard part is working to be strong.
    I met a man at a church function who carried 3 bibles. One in Japanese and two in English. He also read books by Bible scholars to get perspective.
    I asked him what he did with his time to create a basis for a conversation. He said he “read the Bible”
    I asked him what else he did he again said “read the Bible.” I asked “all day” he said yes. “Every day?” He said “yes.” I asked “at work” he said yes. He said God helped him. I asked “did he fail and make mistakes at work?” He said “yes.” I saw him again months later at church. I asked “how’s it going. He told me he had been fired from his job. I asked him what he was going to do? He said “he already had a new job.”
    He invited me to come down to where he lived. I said “yes” it would be nice it would be good to see him. I asked “what are we going to do?” He replied “read the Bible.”
    I did never made a date. Weakness versus a Christian Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    • Hey Phil! Good to hear from you. Looks like God orchestrated the timing beautifully for your conversation & this blog. Let me know when you want to get lunch with those guys 🙂
      Good point to know that weakness doesn’t me we are less in worth, but less of ourselves for Christ to work in us. What an admirable man to be diligent in the Word! That right there, is spiritual strength 💪🏻

  6. Thank you for those words. We’ve been in MN for almost 2 1/2 years. As I was driving today I was thinking how I haven’t connected to the church we attend or have not made any friends. Loneliness is real, even if we want it that way. God mad us social, so we can do His work. It’s a struggle. Blessings, miss you and VFMC family.

    • It’s great to hear from you Tersa! Your realization is so true as we need each other as the Body of Christ… sometimes it requires us to get out of our own space to do so! Tell the family I said hello and congratulations on the house 🙂

  7. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  8. Great message, thanks for your transparency and honesty allowing us to realize that those who lead the church, often surrounded by people and tasks can be at odds with loneliness. Our struggles and our time alone can truly make us rethink our position in the body of Christ. The glory belongs to God, thank you Lord for the struggles in life and the strength that You provide.

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