Vulnerabilities & Strongholds
And David remained
in the strongholds
in the wilderness,
in the hill country
of the wilderness of Ziph.
And Saul sought him every day,
but God did not give him
into his hand.
~ 1 Samuel 23:14 ~
Susceptible to harm,
moral attack or open assault.
Within the spectrum of who I am lies strengths and weaknesses, places where I have some level of competency and areas where I recognize I am susceptible to harm. Between those two “bookends” are a plethora of tendencies that stay off the radar most of the time even though they quietly contribute to my everyday life.
I’ve been thinking about vulnerabilities, about how my enemy invites me, via those points of entry, to move toward him to strongholds he has prepared for me. I think less often about God doing the very same thing while having a dramatically different objective for doing so (the reference above is an example). Truthfully, both strengths and weaknesses lay within my vulnerabilities.
I pay attention to my strengths and weaknesses (as much as I’m aware). I like the former to grow and the latter to diminish. The apostle Paul asked three times that a particular weakness be removed, (I would have asked ten times minimum. Just saying). I have had a general view that vulnerabilities are liabilities. But it’s occurring to me that I am thinking too narrowly; that God might think very differently about my vulnerabilities than I do.
There is a constant, polar-opposite appeal for my heart’s devotion, and it comes via my vulnerabilities. That being the case, I would like to be increasingly sensitive to these invitations, aware that I choose where I place my affections. My vulnerabilities are a point of entry, a doorway to gain access to my heart. But listen, without question, my heart is the target. The vulnerability is simply a means to access it.
Here’s how this sets up for me: The enemy woos my heart, desiring its devotion. God commands my heart’s devotion (He understands it is the only safe place for it to live. And not incidentally, there is evidence of His wooing nature as well, tenderly calling us to come to Him). I want my heart to be attached where love lives and safety protects. The agenda on both sides is very serious.
My vulnerabilities become a cause for concern when I accept the invitations of my enemy. But as God appeals to me through those same entrances, they can become treasured and invaluable assets. The difference hinges on my response.
And I, when I came to you, brothers,
did not come proclaiming to you
the testimony of God
with lofty speech or wisdom.
For I decided to know nothing among you
except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness
and in fear and much trembling,
and my speech and my message
were not in plausible words of wisdom,
but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men
but in the power of God.
~ 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 ~
I have NEVER felt more vulnerable, more fragile, more capable of running aground were I to come out from under the care of my Shepherd. At the same time, I value more than I ever imagined possible, an awareness of vulnerabilities that keep me clinging to Him. They remind me of the impenetrable stronghold God has built to house the whole of who I am, strengths and weaknesses alike. Within the walls of that stronghold lie freedom and life. His command for my heart’s devotion reveals great kindness and His abiding love.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
~ Romans 8:26 ~
But he said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 ~
If I must boast, I will boast of the things
that show my weakness.
~ 2 Corinthians 11:30 ~
Thanks Anne for all your posts on vulnerabilities. I had been thinking about this recently and got clarity as I read your posts.