In the past one month, I had three different individuals affirm me for being a strong person. At those moments, I felt as if they were cracking a big joke, because no, I felt (and feel) far from strong, and it came at a time when I felt as if my world was crashing down on me.
The first one went something like that:
Person A: Well, it seems like you are the strongest one right now.
Me: Don’t. That’s a sick joke to say that.
Person A: No, it’s true. Look. You’re the only one who is willing to seek help.
The second one went something like that:
Me: I fear I’m no better and just as bad…
Person B: No, the difference is that you were willing to seek help…
I mulled over what these people said, and it occured to me that me being weak and them affirming me for being strong could be true simultaneously. Why? Notice something in common between the two individuals who affirmed me? They affirmed my strength in a manner that was inseparable with my willingness to seek help, which was then inseparable with my willingness to acknowledge my weakness. My strength came not from gathering power on my own, but from being held and supported by many arms around me. Strength then, was not to be found from within, but from without. Those who think that they are to be strong by not needing others will find themselves weak, and those who realise how weak they are to need others will find themselves strong.
Isn’t this also what is described in the Psalms? “1I love you, LORD, my strength. 2The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold…17He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 18They confronted me in the day of disaster, but the LORD was my support.”~Psalm 18:1-2,17-18. The psalmist was weak, totally weak in the face of his enemies who were “too strong for him”. Yet, he was able to face them because the LORD was “his strength” and “his support”. As Christians, we may be weak, but God is mighty. Hence, even in our weakness, we may be strong when we find our strength in God. And God gives us too his church and community, in which he dwells, to give us strength.
As a closing, here’s a link to one of the songs that have greatly soothed my soul in recent times: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6Odk49ZvD4
May we sing in our hearts, “I am weak, but Thou art mighty; Hold me with Thy powerful hand.”