Two things cause an inordinate amount of anxiety for me: running out of food at a social gathering and a cell phone with no battery life. No food equates to empty plates when guests arrive. No power left in a cell phone means the lack of ability to call or even get directions. To have nothing left usually amounts to having nothing to offer.
Yet, to have nothing left allows for the opportunity to receive. You can’t fill a pitcher with liquid in it. A bookshelf with space invites the addition of new books. Trees lose their leaves in the fall so that they can grow again in the spring.
Paul says in II Corinthians 12:10, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” I want to believe I grasp the theological implications of this famous verse. By understanding the context of Paul’s life, I can look at how God caused a thorn in his side to experience grace.
Honestly though, weakness delves into all of my hidden insecurities and fears. We want to believe we have enough. Our grit and white knuckling can get us through anything. Then we find out we have nothing left…
We have exercised plan “A” all the way to “Z” with no success.
The last tear has dried from our cries.
Anger exhausts our emotional capacities empty.
A gruesome pace finally depletes our energy to remain in the journey.
The frailty from our humanity has worn us down.
Maybe these circumstances and other instances point us in the direction of understanding the words of St. Paul. Weakness bring us to the place of realizing we have nothing left. All resources exhausted. Every ounce of energy gone.
Having nothing left makes us acutely aware of our need for Christ’s grace. When we have come face to face with our human weakness, then we can begin to draw upon the sufficient strength of God. He invites us to connect with Him. Let us pray and draw near, because weakness is an invitation to His strength.
You might have nothing left to give today, but this is the moment where we can begin to experience Christ’s strength through His grace.
Photo credit to Jessie Schnall, you can see more of her work at Portraits by Jessie.