the weakness of god: facing our disappointment

This is a continuation of my meditation on the weakness of God.

What’s the top-selling movie of 2012? The Avengers. The Avengers is a story of how six comic book action figures save the world from evil: Iron Man, Captain America, The Black Widow, Thor, Hawkeye, and the Incredible Hulk. the weakness of god

Over Thanksgiving my family watched it together. We got the movie because a friend of a friend of one of my kids said it was a “must see” movie. Not so sure about that!

But if I had to guess what people like about The Avengers, and other super hero movies: it’s the fascination with power. These movies fulfill our fantasy of always having the power to overcome obstacles. I think the Iron Man character is especially attractive because he doesn’t have any super power of his own. He’s as weak as the next guy but his Iron Man suit gives him the power…and who wouldn’t want that? Who wouldn’t want to be able to push a button and have their greatest weakness turn into strength?

the weakness of god

I mention this because this month I’m talking about the opposite of this kind of strength. I’m talking about weakness, specifically: the weakness of God. That’s not something we typically like to talk about. We like to talk about heroes. We like to talk about overcoming weakness. We turn to God because we’re weak and he’s strong.

But oddly, God often reveals himself to us in weakness.

The best example is Jesus coming into the world as a baby. But not just a baby: a baby born into poverty to a girl in a stable. Who comes to visit him but shepherds? The lowest class people.

That might all seem quaint to us today. We like manger scenes and grade school programs with Mary and baby Jesus. We like to sing carols about the silent night and the three wise men. But in the eyes of the world at the time, the scene must have been fairly pathetic, not to mention smelly. I mean, are you kidding? What kind of god would enter the world this way? Come on…go get a better story!

Finding the good in weakness.

I have to think that, if God chose to enter the world in weakness then there must be more to weakness than we realize. There must be something that is even good about weakness if we are open to it. And so I’m taking this month to look at this idea of the weakness of god.

The weakness of God is offensive.

The reason this is so important is that God continues to show up in weakness today. For every great story of God showing up in an amazing way for someone… there are probably a number of people saying…that’s not true for me. When I prayed, nothing happened. When I prayed for my marriage, we got divorced. When I prayed for healing, I got worse. When I prayed for my finances, I had to declare bankruptcy. Do you see what I’m saying? It’s embarrassing. It’s offensive. It even causes some people to turn away from God.

Strength comforts us. But weakness scares us. We don’t know what to do with weakness. We don’t know what category to put it in. It’s easier to just smile when others share their success story and not mention the pain of God NOT showing up for you.

Finding God in weakness.

But what I want us to see is that God is not only in strength, God is in weakness too. Just because you don’t see him in weakness, doesn’t mean he’s not there. He is there when the divorce happens, or in the failed healing, or the bankruptcy. He may not show up in the way you wanted, but he’s there. You just need to develop eyes to see him.

Question: Have you seen God show up in “weakness”, that is, unexpected ways? Ways that weren’t overwhelming powerful but yet profound? Please let me know about it by leaving a comment. Thanks.

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