When my youngest child was four years old, she wanted to do everything herself, whether getting dressed or making her own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She refused to ask for help.
On one occasion, I observed her trying to open a new jar of jelly. The seal on the peanut butter jar already had been broken, so it was easy to open. But the seal on the jelly had not been opened. She strained and strained to open the jar.
Eventually, she gave up. Defeated and sad. Then, at that very moment of defeat, something glorious happened.
She brought the jelly jar to me.
Finally, my daughter confessed her weakness. Her only option was to ask her daddy to open the jar — to do for her, what she couldn’t do for herself. What was impossible for her was easy for me.
The same thing is true for us as children of God. What is impossible for us is easy for him.
This is the secret the apostle Paul learned at a low point in his life when he couldn’t open his own jelly jar. He discovered that true strength is found in weakness.
This is the lesson Jesus taught him in 2 Corinthians 12:9. At that low point, Jesus spoke to Paul saying, “My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness” (NIV).
In response, Paul said, “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (NIV).
This doesn’t mean we should try to be weak. We already are. The lesson for us is to take all of our jelly jars to Jesus.
Of course, we’re not talking about literal jars. Rather, the jelly jars we are talking about represent anything that reveals our weakness and need — any problem or struggle we face.
What we learn is that confessing weakness is the path to the help we need.
At the place of our greatest need, we discover what Paul says in Ephesians 3:20, that “God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine” (NIV).
There is no jelly jar Jesus can’t open. In fact, if we put on our gospel glasses, we will see Jesus opened the most difficult jar of them all on the cross.
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