Seeking God's weakness-powered wholeness

“What if instead of looking for usefulness in wholeness, we find a new and more dynamic power in God’s weakness-powered wholeness?” (Liz Carter)

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)


Tracy Williamson, a Christian author who is deaf, told me about a time she heard some words about usefulness that nearly broke her.

As a brand-new Christian, she was invited to a special intercession meeting at her church, where it was declared that God would heal people that evening. Tracy was called to the front. Being a new Christian, she wasn’t sure how to respond as the elders laid hands on her ears and prayed, repeating “Jesus” into her ears to test if she was hearing – for two hours.

“They were determined to see me healed,” she told me. “I tried with all my might to become someone who could hear. They commanded my ears to be open. They cast out spirits of deafness and released hearing into my ears.”

Tracy was exhausted and overwhelmed, the elders’ shouts and commands a “discordant cacophony” jarring around her in harsh and painful waves. At the end of the two hours, she was still deaf. That was when one of the elders said, “Tracy, you need to have more faith because God won’t be able to use you as a deaf person.”


“His words stunned me,” Tracy told me. “They went straight to my heart like an arrow and cut me deeply.” She had tried so hard to believe that healing would come, struggling through those two intimidating hours, and now she was left in despair. “I had disappointed God with my lack of faith, and he would not be able to use me. I was devastated.”

She felt a deep sense of shame; many of the negative beliefs she had formed from a painful childhood were churning in her head again. “I believed I was an inferior Christian, second-rate, both because of my disability and my lack of faith. I withdrew into myself, feeling there was no point in being enthusiastic about God and my Christian life if he could not use me.” As time passed, those words cut an ever-deepening wound inside her.



Then she met the gospel singer/songwriter Marilyn Baker (who is blind), and they became great friends. Marilyn knew that God did not see her blindness as inferiority; she knew God worked alongside her, within her disability, to touch countless lives. Her attitude had a profound effect on Tracy – and as Tracy became assured of God’s love, acceptance, and partnership with her, she was transformed.

One night at one of her concerts, Marilyn invited Tracy to share her testimony. Tracy was terrified! All the hurtful words and false accusations churned in her head again, but as she shared about God’s deep healing, people were touched, restored, and brought to Christ.

“I was full of awe and joy,” Tracy says. “I realized the words the elder had spoken had been totally false. God would never reject me for being deaf and would, in fact, turn my weakness to his glory.” Tracy forgave the elder but still wishes she had never heard those words. “Our words have great power to either build up or destroy,” she says.


Tracy’s story (You can read more of it in her book The Father’s Kiss.) echoes my own experience and, sadly, the experience of others who have been bruised and scarred by words and actions like these. Often, people with the most obvious problems (whether physical, practical, or emotional) are targeted for very aggressive prayer.

It is not only these huge issues in our lives that lend themselves to the feeling that we would be better if we were whole; it’s all the small things, like:

  • when someone’s stutter means they can’t find the courage to tell others about Jesus.
  • when someone’s too exhausted to make it to a church event – yet again.
  • when you feel as though you’re failing at parenting.
  • when you feel like you need to snap out of your sadness.

All these issues pile upon one another, building a great tower of uselessness and hopelessness. We think we can never get fixed. We can never be sorted out enough to be helpful to God.


Jesus, your wounds have set me free
And yet they linger on, stark and ragged,
Displaying the weakness at the heart of your kingdom.
When I grasp for a mended life,
Sit with me in the broken pieces.
When I feel useless in my pain,
Take me to new places where wholeness means hope.
Write a new freedom story around my life,
And may I write it with those around me.


Of course, making positive changes in our lives is healthy and essential to our growth as human beings and Christians. Still, when the natural progression of growth gets all tangled up with the forced expectations of productivity and use (and the idea that the better we become, the more useful we are), good growth can slow down, choked by thorny negative growth.

Let’s reframe the idea that we must be whole to be useful. We should throw out the useful part of that idea and the whole part (when used to mean mended). What if we could fling that notion aside and be released into the liberty of discovering God’s power within our brokenness? What if instead of looking for usefulness in wholeness, we find a new and more dynamic power in God’s weakness-powered wholeness?

Yellow Bubbles


Liz Carter is an author, poet, and editor from Shropshire. She writes out of her own chronically ill health about the difficult and painful times in life and how we can find gold in the mess. Her books, including Valuable (The Good Book Company, 2023), Catching Contentment (IVP), and Treasure in Dark Places, are available in bookstores. She is poet-in-residence for her town of Wellington, Shropshire, UK. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Infinite Worth

He left the 99 to rescue me – yesterday, today, and always (Matthew 18:12 paraphrase). Our worth isn't based on who we are or what we can do but on who God is. We are the work of His hands.

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