Strength at Your Weakest PointVolume 26 No. 5
Have any weak points in your life? They could become your strengths.
By Tim Crosby with Pastor Bill Tucker
A tall, graceful African-American girl named Althea stood before the Royal Box in London’s Wimbledon Stadium amidst cheering thousands. It all seemed so unreal, for advancing toward her to bestow upon her the tennis crown of the world, was Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England. Yet, for that brief encounter between the queen of tennis and the Queen of England to take place, incredible obstacles of poverty, poor health and prejudice had to be overcome.
Althea was born into a poor family in 1927. A childhood illness had left her weak and sickly. Then one day her wise mother said to her, “Can you see that stone down by the barn? Go down and bring that stone up here so we can put it as a step by the kitchen door.”
“Mommy,” the child protested, “I’m so weak that I can hardly walk down there, let alone move the stone.”
However, her mother insisted, “You go down and, if necessary, move it only a half-inch in this direction, but move it.”
Day after day the little girl pushed and tugged at the stone, first moving it an inch, then three inches, then five. It took her two months to do what any normal, healthy girl her age could have done in fifteen minutes! However, as she tussled with that stone she lost her weakness; she grew strong. From this she learned a wonderful thing—we can turn weakness into strength.
She became a champion at paddle tennis among the youngsters on the streets of Harlem. One day a friend gave her a tennis racket, and soon she was winning tournaments.
As time passed, she had to overcome strong prejudice against her race. Not until 1950, when she was 23-years-old, was Althea permitted to play in the US Nationals, the first black person to compete in that tournament.
Then in 1957, Althea Gibson became the first black person to win the coveted Wimbledon Trophy in tennis. Through determination and an attitude of overcoming challenges, she had turned her weakness into strength.
John Mott once said, “You can become strongest in your weakest place.” Now, if you will take that great truth and apply it to yourself, you will discover that your weak place can become a rock of strength. So decide what your weakest place is, and then say to yourself, “I can become strongest in my weakest place; it is my choice.”
I understand that if a piece of metal is correctly welded to another piece of metal, the point where they are welded together may be stronger than any other point. If the metal breaks, it will likely not break at the welded point. This is because the intense heat drives the molecules together in such a way that this becomes the strongest point. Spiritual heat has the same effect when properly applied to a point of weakness in a human being. So, if you have a weak place in your own character, apply the profound heat of faith and surrender. Combined with re-dedication and prayer, that will become the point in you that will be the strongest.
THE “WEAKLING HALL OF FAME”
Maybe you’re not convinced. Let me share some Biblical examples of individuals who became strongest at their weakest point.
Let’s say your problem is temper. Can you think of anyone in Scripture who had that problem? The disciple John comes to mind. “Son of Thunder” they called him. He was proud, ambitious and vengeful. You wouldn’t want to cross him.
If you are familiar with the Gospels you will recall that one day John wanted to roast the Samaritans. They had rejected and humiliated Jesus by refusing to receive Him, and John and his brother were angry. “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from Heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?” Luke 9:54. John was acting like a young, idealistic hothead.
However, something happened to John as he associated with Jesus and absorbed His gentle spirit of humility and patience. John’s fierceness began to melt, until he became a loving and lovable Christian. We know this by reading his first epistle, which he wrote near the end of his life. That letter is a symphony of tender love. The word “love” appears in almost every verse. So you see, “Young John Thunder” became “Old John Tender.” He became strongest at his weakest point.
Maybe your problem is a lack of generosity. Maybe you are a little too tight-fisted with your money, maybe even selfish. Well, let me introduce you to the stingiest man in town—the Scrooge of Jericho—Zacchaeus. He was a greedy tax collector who would take a poor widow’s last mite. One day he got fed up with himself. Zacchaeus liked what he had heard about Jesus, about His kindness even to tax collectors, about how lives were changed by His touch. However, when Jesus finally came to town, Zacchaeus was too short to see over the crowd, and he climbed up into a sycamore tree. And wouldn’t you know it, Jesus stopped right under his tree and called his name as he sat on his lofty perch. How embarrassing! How transforming! After he met Jesus, getting and hoarding money ceased to be the focus of his life.
Zacchaeus became generous. He gave half of his goods to the poor, and reimbursed those he had stolen from, to four times the value he owed them. Zacchaeus became strongest at his weakest point.
Maybe your problem is a lack of persistence. You just don’t have the stick-to-it attitude to make a success of life. Everyone knows that perseverance is one of the most basic ingredients of success. However, you know how you are. You start out with good intentions, but never quite finish. You’re easily discouraged or distracted.
I can think of someone like that in Scripture. His name was John Mark. According to Acts 15:36–40, he was a deserter. Paul had chosen him as his right-hand man. However, John Mark had not expected so much opposition, and when the going got rough, he took off. Paul wasn’t willing to give him a second chance, but fortunately Barnabas was. Somewhere along the way, the grace of God came in and put some backbone and tenacity into John Mark, and he persevered until he had even won back Paul’s confidence. John Mark turned his weakness into strength through perseverance.
Here’s a problem a lot of people have—timidity. They just don’t have the courage to speak up for Christ. A lot of people are timid in that way, even when they are bold in other ways. Seems kind of strange, doesn’t it?
Take Peter, for example. Ordinarily, Peter was the first one to have something to say. However, at Jesus’ trial, when it came to standing up for his Lord in the face of the threat of embarrassment and persecution, he cursed and swore and blasphemed rather than admit that he was a follower of Jesus.
Now take another look at Peter. After Jesus rose from the dead, Peter was thrown into jail overnight for the crime of preaching about Jesus. The next morning all the Jewish VIPs got together in a council session and brought Peter before them and demanded an explanation from him. He bore such a powerful witness for Jesus that the Jewish leaders were intimidated. We can read about Peter in Acts 4:13: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
Now, you may be more educated, and better off than these men were. They did not have such advantages. Nevertheless, they became bold where they once had been timid, when the Holy Spirit transformed their lives.
The rich bass voice of Harold Richards was heard for many years on the Voice of Prophecy radio broadcast. Did you know that Harold was once a stutterer? That’s right. When God first called him, he stuttered. But Harold became strongest at his weakest point.
What about you? What is your weakest point? Your weakness can become a rock of strength! It all starts in your mind. What you think about pretty much determines what you are going to do and what you are going to be.
OVERCOMING YOUR WEAK POINTS
So how do we overcome weakness? By focusing on the weakness? No. You do it by dwelling on the strength you wish to cultivate and by memorizing appropriate scriptures that talk about that particular virtue or strength and by claiming the promises of God in prayer. Psychologists have discovered that merely the act of writing down the name of a virtue—like boldness or meekness—on a card and keeping it in your pocket and repeating it to yourself through the day can move you in the direction of that virtue. Try it.
However, that alone is not enough. To become strong at your weak point you need the power of God in your life. You need to spend time in God’s Word and on your knees in prayer. So if you have a bad habit, character weakness, uncontrollable desire, an inner conflict, an inferiority complex—whatever—it can be changed. Your weakness can become your strength.
To become strong at your weak point you need to spend time with god in his word and in prayer.
When Paul begged God to remove an infirmity, God answered, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul concluded, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me… for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10.
So there you have it. Six witnesses to the power of God: Harold the stutterer, Peter the timid, Mark the quitter, Zacchaeus the greedy, John the fierce, and Althea the weakling. They all became strongest at their weakest point, and so can you, by simply surrendering your life and will to Jesus Christ, the only One who can truly give you strength in the place of weakness.
Pastor Bill Tucker is the speaker and president of the Quiet Hour Ministry in Redlands, CA. Adapted from the Quiet Hour Echoes, July 2000. Used with permission.
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