There is a popular song on the radio now with an upbeat chorus that repeats, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger….” It’s a catchy melody, and I find myself humming this tune at odd times. I’ve even taken to obnoxiously singing these words to my kids when they begin to complain about things I’ve asked them to do.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” This is such a common cliche. But the more I’ve been thinking about it, I’m not sure it’s true.
When I first started experiencing trials, in my late twenties, I DID feel that trials made me stronger. As a young adult, these trials were some of my first life experiences, and I learned from them. I learned about faith, about God, and I learned about the need for support in my community. These early trials taught me about my own tendencies in responding to difficulties. In learning about myself, I learned about God. I DID grow stronger.
But I am no longer in my twenties. As a seasoned wife and mother in her forties, I feel far more fragile than I did when I was twenty. I no longer experience trials in the same way that I did when I was younger. The trials in my life no longer serve to make me stronger. They’ve left me feeling weak, beaten down, occasionally defeated … but they have always left me more dependent. My trials make me dependent on others … doctors, kind friends and neighbors, therapists, caregivers … most importantly, my trials also make me more dependent on God. They do not make ME stronger. They make me stronger IN HIM.
“When I am weak then He is strong.”
2 Cor 12:9
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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Lord, I pray that the trials of hidden disabilities and all that we experience bring us closer to you. I pray that we become more dependent, and even more thankful for our trials, as they are a way that You help us to fall at your feet and bring you glory. May we grow stronger, not in ourselves, but in You.