Thursday, August 1, 2013

Beauty in Weakness


For the past several months, I have joined the She Reads Truth community in several devotional series they have offered.  If you are looking for a good devotional series, I highly recommend joining this wonderful resource.  You can even access these devotionals through the YouVersion Bible app on your phone.

The latest series I have read is "Women of the Bible" part 1.  One of the women profiled was Leah, the first wife of Jacob.  Leah has always been a character in Scripture who has stood out to me because of the sadness in her life.  Her father sneakily married her to Jacob first when the wife Jacob really wanted was Leah's sister Rachel.  How heartbreaking to feel as though you were always second place to your sister.

When I read Leah's story most recently, I noticed that the word used to describe her eyes varies from translation to translation of Scripture.  The NASB describes her eyes as "weak", but the MSG describes them as "fine".  The drastic change startled me.  Whenever I hear the phrase "fine eyes", I'm immediately transported to Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Darcy refers to the eyes of Elizabeth Bennett as fine.  I know he didn't mean that description as an insult, but rather to emphasize their beauty.

Could it be that there is a deeper meaning in the use of this word to describe Leah's eyes?  Perhaps there is room for both translations?  Perhaps, in fact, they may lead to one another, harmonizing into a beautiful melody.

Maybe this description points us to the beauty God sees in our weakness.  For in our weakness lies our reliance on God.  Weakness pushes us even further into the arms of God.  It is so natural for us to rely on Him in our challenges when we are pushed past the breaking point.  Our strengths tempt us to go it on our own, to be independent.  In our weakness, we recognize our true state of being, our utter dependence on Him and the true beauty of the relationship begins.  We begin to see what God desires -- that we would cast off our prideful, show-off self, rationalizing all that we are trying to be and embrace our lack, our weakness, and rely on Him because He is the only one who will strengthen us, purify us and complete us in the way we need.

It is not only Leah in Scripture who is described as weak, but Paul himself writes, "when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor. 12:10b.  Paul delighted in his weakness, for it turned the focus to Christ.  What a radical view!  Paul writes just before this passage, the word he heard from the Lord, "my grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect (complete) in weakness".  2 Corinthians 12:9.

I wonder when we open our weakness up to God and ask Him to dwell within, to complete us, is there any response other than praise?  Leah certainly didn't think so!  In fact as God allowed her to bear six sons who would eventually become half of the twelve tribes of Israel, she pointed to God in almost each circumstance, recognizing that any good thing came from God's hand alone.

May we, too, be quick to praise God for the good and embrace our weakness, allowing God to perform a mighty and beautiful work in our lives.

Blessings for the journey.

1 comment:

  1. As soon as you wrote the other translations "fine eyes" I immediately though of Darcy too :) his grace IS made perfect in our weakness