On Experiencing God's Grace in Weakness and Imperfection
How to see our weakness and imperfection as a beautiful avenue towards God's grace for our lives.
We are taught that the weakest parts of ourselves are the most shameful. Oftentimes, our solution to these unpleasant feelings is the pursuit of perfectionism—we ruthlessly edit our lives, eliminating unpleasantness and not allowing our weaknesses to peek through the facade. We carefully choose what to take pride in and what to hide away, shuffling around the noise and the ugliness that we perceive to be unworthy. Inevitably though, humans live imperfect lives; and our human weakness becomes a reality that we must contend with.
It is difficult to tolerate weakness in ourselves. We equate it with failure or a sense of “not good enough”. We find ways to cope with it—we suppress and hide it away; we try to overpower it with our strengths; we toil and work to be perceived as flawless in others’ eyes.
Relationship with God though, teaches us something different. We reflect on Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, in which he writes about “a thorn in his flesh”, a painful trial in his life—an imperfection. He prays to God to remove this, to which God responds and Paul reflects:
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Instead of removing the trial, God offers this simple, yet profound truth to Paul—that God’s grace is enough in whatever weakness Paul experiences. This grace may be given in unexpected forms, but in every situation, it is enough to nourish, comfort, and strengthen us.
We do not become perfect through this process, but God does “for my power is made perfect in weakness.” The profound beauty in our weakness is that it is the very thing that makes us human—and the avenue by which God’s strength is most apparent. There in the struggle to accept our weaknesses, we learn humility, gentleness, and a different definition of strength.
As we learn to live as imperfect, weak human beings, let us pursue an honest expression of ourselves. As we connect with others, let us be humble and kind. As we go forth in this world, let us recognize the beauty in our collective weakness and the strength of God’s grace. Amen.
Words: Willa Jin
Photos: Bryan Ye-Chung