When Moroni expressed his anxiety that his “weakness in writing” would cause some people to reject the Book of Mormon, the Savior responded with a reassuring promise:
If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.Ether 12:27
I’ve been thinking this week about the Savior’s promise to “make weak things become strong unto [us].” What does that mean, and how does He do it? I can think of at least three ways:
- He helps us develop skills and attributes. Some of our weaknesses simply represent areas for improvement: underdeveloped capabilities. With consistent practice over time, we can make progress. The Savior can make us aware of these areas for improvement and can coach us and strengthen us as we make the effort to grow.
- He provides compensatory power. Some of our weaknesses may be better classified as disabilities. In our mortal state, there may be some things we will never be good at. The apostle Paul had to grapple with something like this, when he “besought the Lord thrice” to take away a “thorn in the flesh” which afflicted him. In response, the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). It was never the plan for us to overcome every physical and mental limitation we experience in mortality. Some of those deficiencies will always serve the purpose of keeping us humble which can unlock God’s power.
- He teaches us to use our core attributes productively. We all have characteristics which can either propel us forward or hold us back. Are you stubborn, or are you persistent? God can help you leverage that attribute to overcome significant challenges, while keeping it in check when it may harm important relationships. Are you long-winded, or are you eloquent? God can help you leverage your talent with words when it’s useful to speak up but set it aside when it’s time to listen. Like the ugly duckling, we may discover that the attributes which sometimes trip us up are the same attributes which can bring us success in the right context.
Today, I will pay attention to the different ways the Savior is turning my weaknesses into strengths. I will continue working on skills and attributes that I need to further develop. I will recognize that some of my deficiencies will not go away and are intended to keep me humble. And I will continue learning how to leverage my talents and skills more productively.