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Weakness Turned to Strength

March 24, 2020
By Martin Luther

Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed.

GENESIS 32:7

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Weakness Turned to Strength

We have often said that when faith is weakest, it is strongest. So wonderful are the works of God. Isaiah says (60:22): "The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation." Paul says likewise in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: "I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses . . . for when I am weak, then I am strong." Jacob here is very weak in his terrors and troubles, amazed, and dejected above measure. Yet his faith was never stronger, because faith which struggles against unbelief draws, as it were, the last and deepest sighs. But this sighing no one understands, neither Jacob nor anyone else. It is the ineffable groaning of which Romans 8:26 says: "The Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words." It is not the voice of triumph, but in reality it is a groaning by which the afflicted heart only sighs and seems to draw breath with difficulty. Isaiah calls it a smoking flax and a reed which is not whole but crushed and shattered (Isaiah 42:3). But although there is nothing weaker and more feeble than this groaning (for it is, as it were, the last breath), it is nevertheless ineffable.

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