The "Weakness" of God is Stronger than Satan’s Power

There is a line in the Letter to the Hebrews which reads:

You made [Jesus] for a little while lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, subjecting all things under his feet.” In “subjecting” all things (to him), he left nothing not “subject to him.” Yet at present we do not see “all things subject to him,” but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor” because he suffered death,  (Heb 2:7-9)

Now this text is clear about two things. First, All things are subject to Jesus. Second, we do not presently see or experience that all things are subject to him. Why is this? Fundamentally it is because we experience grave injustice in this world and it seems to us that wickedness and evil are often triumphant. Our sufferings too can discourage us that God has any power at all. Such things do not seem to us to be subject to Christ. Yet the text is clear that all things are under his feet even if it does not seem so.

How can we claim that Christ is triumphant over all when things so often seem the opposite?

Come with me to the cross.  The text says we DO see Jesus crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death. So, here we are at the foot of the cross. And what do we see? With our earthly eyes we see complete defeat, a total failure. Jesus who cured the sick, walked on water, and even raised the dead, is now himself dead on a cross. Our fleshly eyes see only failure, and a cruel joke. Can He who saved others not save himself? Satan has won; end of story.

Or is it? You know it is not the end of the story, for on Sunday he rose. So he did defeat Satan. But how? ….Through weakness….. Through death. Even in his “weakness” God is stronger than Satan’s mightiest power. And hence, though we look about this world and see God’s “weakness” we need to understand that even in his weakness he is defeating Satan. Indeed, his greatest works have emerged from the “weakness” of his Son.  An old song, “El Shaddai” says,

    • Through the years you made it clear,
    • that the time of Christ was near,
    • But couldn’t see what Messiah ought to be.
    • And Though your word contained the plan,
    • they just would not understand,
    • Your most awesome work was done,
    • through the frailty of your son.

We really Don’t know what we are talking about – So the text from Hebrews makes it clear that all things are subject to him even though our earthly, eyes do not (will not) see it. Hence you and I may complain of God’s apparent weakness and question the apparent triumph of evil. But we really don’t know what we are talking about. It’s like standing at the foot of the Cross on Good Friday and proclaming total failure. If we were there and did so we would really have no idea what we were saying. Even as we were saying it, the supposedly dead Jesus was down among the dead in Sheol awaking them and turning out the devil’s trophy room. While the Devil was running victory laps around the cross Jesus was robbing him blind of all his “trophies” (the dead)  and preaparing to open heaven for them who had long awaited him. All things are subject to Christ even if they don’t appear so.

And for us who experience our own weakness, here too we know not what we say unless the wisdom of the Cross is applied to it. St. Paul said, For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12:10). How are we strong? We are strong because in our weakness we learn to depend on God who is our true strength. Our greatest enemy  is pride. Only our weakness can strip us of this pride so that God can use us and save us. At age forty, Moses was strong, in the prime of his life, educated, passionate and powerful. But he was too strong and in his pride he murdered a man. God couldn’t use him and so caused him to flee to the desert for purifcation. It took forty years. At age 80 Moses was stooped, leaned on a staff and stammered. Now he was weak enough for God to use him. At age 80, God said to Moses, “Go down Moses, tell Pharaoh to let my people go.” For when I am weak, then I am strong for then the power of God rests on me.

I like you have my crosses and suffering. A spritual director once told me, “Thank God you’ve got them. Otherwise you’d be too proud to be saved and be heading right to hell. And even on your way God couldn’t use you.” Yes, even our weakness is subject to Christ and used mightily by him.

The Cross is a paradox and we must spend our lives learning to kneel before and heed its wisdom. Yet at present we do not see “all things subject to him,” but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor” because he suffered death. God’s “weakness” is stronger than Satan’s power.

11 Replies to “The "Weakness" of God is Stronger than Satan’s Power”

  1. Oh, how I needed to read this tonight. I am so weak right now … been terribly ill (two trips to ER over the weekend) and can only stay up a few moments before I must go lie down. So this is where I come tonight after seeking some help. A friend, a lay Carmelite, wrote a beautiful prayer for me which lifted me up into the very arms of Jesus (momentarily).

    Questions: because I feel so weak, I feel that evil spirits are near. I take comfort in my cross and rosary beads. How can I arm myself to fight? Can a picture of St. Michael help? I like to read/sing some of the Psalms, but I want to feel more protected. But you know how little my faith is … I want tangibles. I want to feel His arms.

    Lord, have mercy. Protect me. Hold me. And then use me for your purpose.

    1. All the things you mention are great. I would perhaps add that even the act of lying on the bed is a chance to feel God supporting you and embracing you. As for those evil spirits remember the Lord is stronger and also call upon your guardian angel.

      Also, the anointing of the sick is sometimes called for in cases like this. I don’t know the nature of the illness but for serious illnesses requiring hospitalization or surgery the anointing is done to strengthen the person against discouragement and many of the things you describe. You may wish to discuss the norms for anointing with your parish priest, especially if you suffer any chronic sort of illness.

  2. Dear friends who are sick, welcome the call of Jesus who will shortly pass among you in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and entrust to him every setback and pain that you face, so that they become – according to his design – a means of redemption for the whole world. You will be redeemers with the Redeemer, just as you are sons in the Son. At the cross. stands the mother of Jesus, our mother.
    — Pope addressing the ill at Fatima

  3. God’s weakness is stronger than Satan’s power. This is true because Satan is an Arch-Angel. He is not equal to God, but is equal to St. Michael the Arch-Angel. Jesus was weak in His human body, but it was like a steel hand covered with a velvet glove. God loved us so much He sent His Love in person! In weakness we turn to God, therefore in weakness we are strong, however we should also turn to God when we are healthy and strong, to give him thankgiving and praise.

    The prayer of a sick person is Psalm 88, and Psalm 23 which is not just for use at furnerals,, together with Romans 8:26 (The spirit helps in our weakness). Also I like the prayer from the LOH (Liturgy Of Hours-Vol. IV; p> 522) “God of power and mercy, protect us from all harm. – Give us freedom of spirit and health in mind and body to do your work on earth.” We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Remember, Jesus is the Divine Physician.

    Side note: HAPPY VETERANS DAY! “For those who fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.”

  4. The thought came to me while praying the Magnificat: “God pulls the mighty off their thrones so that they can become humble – the humble He later exults. He sends the rich away empty so that they will return to Him hungry and be filled.” Justice and mercy – all Love. As I am being pruned I will try to remember this.

  5. If anyone on Earth is weak, it is I. I am an anchoress and a spouse of Christ who must seek enclosure because of all the temptations of Planet Earth. I am also seeking to found a religious order in the name of Christ right here in the Trenton Diocese. I have asked permission of the pope and I am waiting for his reply. Please pray for me! Pray that in my weakness, the Lord’s strength should be sufficient, for I have none. Check out my websites:

    I have high hopes, don’t I?

    In the Love of Jesus

  6. Msgr. Pope: Thank you so much for this powerful meditation. You have answered a question I have long struggled with. And with that answer has come a new understanding of my life — insight into things that have happened in the past, and an awareness of how I might deal with my present problems. Pray God that I will be able to hold on to this understanding and live it.

    May God bless your richly for sharing your thoughts with us.

  7. I have learned from this article. This article is the best I’ve ever read. Thank you.

  8. I am leading Bible Study for the first time next week and I am going to talk about this. Thank you!

  9. I have seen Him i have touch Him, it is true that He liveth belive and accept Him. His power is wonderfull

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