“There is a vulnerability in strength.”
One of my college professors once stated the above quote, and I had a problem with it. It seemed to me a contradiction of which I wanted no part. During that season of my life, I refused to admit my weaknesses because I was afraid to confront them. And his wise observation rocked my perception of what strength is.
But as I have grown, I have come to a deeper understanding of what he meant. This particular professor was reflecting on the nerve it takes to stand up in front of an audience of any size and sing a song for those present. It takes guts to sing loudly and strongly for all to hear, opening the performer up to all kinds of criticism.
The point is that no great deed or feat can be accomplished without the risk of vulnerability. According to dictionary.com, vulnerability is defined as “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded or hurt.” In the case of a singer, performing opens one up for failure as a performer and/or opens doors for others to judge one’s performance based on subjectivity. But, if the singer refuses to risk vulnerability, s/he will never fully know how great s/he can sing.
Similarly, a body builder will never get anywhere in training without great risk. The process of building muscle is painful in-and-of-itself, let alone the risks taken in competing with others. What if just one slip causes the body builder to drop the weights, causing permanent, irreversible damage?
But the fact remains that vulnerability and strength do not exist in direct opposition to one another. They are paradoxical opposites and hence go hand-in-hand. In order to be strong, we risk weakness.
This type of vulnerable strength was best exemplified in Christ. Philippians 2:7-8 states that Jesus chose to make Himself nothing for the sake of man. He chose to give up His high position in heaven to carry out what the Father asked of Him. And as Jesus allowed Himself to be weak enough to die on the cross, He became strong through the power of the resurrection.
So while the world praises the musical prodigies and extensively trained athletes for their strengths and skills, the kingdom of God praises these individuals for their willingness to be vulnerable for the sake of something better than what they currently are. Christ showed us that choosing to be lowly gives us that much more power in Him.
This concept is essentially what it means to live a Christian life. We choose to be openly vulnerable before a God that chooses to strengthen us where we need it. As our faith grows stronger, so also grows the possibility of hurting ourselves in the process of stretching.
But we take comfort in knowing that as God challenges us to try new things, He is also gracious enough to provide the strength that we need. So while there is in fact vulnerability in strength, there is God in both vulnerability and strength.
Psalm 18:32 – It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.
Angela is a writer of songs and articles currently residing in the Denver area. She is a coffee connoisseur and lover of clever song lyrics. She geeks out over Harry Potter, black light mini golf , The Legend of Zelda, and macaroni and cheese.