Isaiah 53:7-9, “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. From prison and trial, they led him away to his death. But who among the people realized that he was dying for their sins- that he was suffering their punishment? He had done no wrong, and he never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal…”
When I read these passages, I can only imagine how Jesus’s disciples and mother might have felt as they watched him go the cross. I can image that they were shocked and confused. They felt his pain or even anger. Wasn’t he the son of God? Where was his power? He appeared weak and vulnerable, but little did they know that in his weakness lay his strength. Though his most vulnerable moment was dying on the cross, it was at that moment they were and we are also saved.
The cross teaches me that in weakness or vulnerability, lies strength. I am not talking about being a doormat or letting people abuse or manipulate you, or covering up your love one’s sins due to the fear of the consequences of exposing them. I am talking about exposing your heart even when you are afraid of how others may react, or how they might see you. I am talking about being accountable for your actions, being honest, and speaking the truth even when it hurts.
In my life, I can see how vulnerability produces strength. As a victim of domestic violence, others might have seen me as weak. Due to shame and fear, I might have also seen myself as been helpless or weak. But, when I decided to rely on Christ’s strength, expose my situation for what it was and doing what was right, my weaknesses were turned into strengths.
It is not easy to embrace vulnerability, especially when you parent teens and young adults. As a parent, the teenage years were my most humbling years. I was no longer the source of wisdom. My heart and weakness were constantly exposed. My kids saw my deficiencies and were willing to express them. I may have appeared weak to them, but I knew my strength lie in admitting when I am wrong, not compromising my morals and values and being persisting in my faith.
As a single woman, life can be overwhelming. Taking care of a home (everything breaks down at once), taking care of the family, lack of finances, being pulled in many directions at once, loneliness and staying pure can all threaten my faith, leaving me at times feeling helpless. I may appear vulnerable, but I know it is during those moments that I need to expose my heart, confess my sins, repent, and ask for help.
The most vulnerable moments in my life have always been my speech. I talk fast and have a lisp. I stutter when I am overly anxious. My speech has been a source of ridicule and jokes as a child and even as an adult. I attempted to correct this by trying to slow down and speech therapy, but it hasn’t worked consistently. I can relate to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 where he begged God to remove his thorn. The respond was, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” I recognize when I speak of God’s wisdom with passion and convictions, my speech is clear and has power. It is through my weaknesses that God’s power works best. “But those called by God to salvation, both Jews, and Gentiles, Christ is the mighty power of God and the wonderful wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is far wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength.” 1 Corinthians 1:24-25
It doesn’t make sense that strength is found in vulnerability. It may be foolish to others, but I know it works, and the cross makes that possible.