Heavenly Father granted us our agency, therefore, only once we look at ourselves and say, “wow, I really am terrible at this, Heavenly Father, will you help?” that He helps us. He will not force us to perfection—that was someone else’s plan!
But he gives us weaknesses so that we recognize that we need that help.
Weakness is the door by which grace enters our lives.
I came to realize that God gives us weakness to humble us, and God points out our weaknesses to encourage us to let Him into our life.
It is only in our weakness that we are in need of grace. Strength thinks it needs no grace. And because of agency, God will not give us His complete grace until we recognize our weakness and seek help. Then grace can come in and make up the difference. The kicker is, the more we recognize our weakness, the more weaknesses we find and the more we understand that we really are nothing (John 15:5) and we need all the help (grace, enabling power) we can get!!
It was at this point that I started to understand what Paul was telling the Corinthians, and me. He could have just as easily have told us, “Look, the question that I had to answer once the Lord told me He wouldn’t take away my weakness was: would I rather have no weaknesses or trials and therefore have only a little grace? Or would I want to experience trials and weaknesses and have the Lord’s strength made complete in weakness (complete grace)?...I choose grace!”
Just like Paul, we can make a conscious decision when it comes to our trials and weaknesses. We are not victims. We have agency. We can let our weaknesses control us, or we can face them head on, pray for relief, and whether relief comes or not, we can be confident that the grace of God is being made complete in our lives in our weaknesses. I know that as we make that choice, we will one day be able to look back at our life and, like Paul, glory in our infirmities, because those will be the times that Heavenly Father was nearest to us.