27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Ether 12:27

This scripture is amazing. Many people focus on the fact that Christ is saying that He will help us overcome our weaknesses. However, there is another point that I love from this scripture. Let me illustrate it with a story.

I served my mission in the Russia Moscow Mission. I started in a city called Tver, which is northwest of Moscow. I loved it there, and my trainer was awesome. The members were amazing, and I quickly fell in love with the place. About two months in something happened, though. I started looking at myself and realizing all these issues that I had. These had somehow eluded me previously. I was starting to get quite down on myself. Problems at home were amplifying these feelings. My mother was going through a failed and nearly deadly attempt at reconstructive surgery after having tussled with breast cancer. I was feeling unworthy to serve a mission and really wanted to be home.

When I had an interview with the mission president, my views changed. I told him what I was going through. He looked at me and simply asked, “Would you believe me if I told you that these shortcomings have always been there?” He then preceded to share this scripture with me. He focused on the first sentence, saying that perhaps the fact that I was seeing more of my weaknesses meant that I was actually getting closer, not further from, to Christ. It opened my eyes.

When we strive to strengthen our relationship with our Savior, He shows us what we need to do to become what He would have us be. He shows us our weaknesses. Sometimes this may make us feel like we are worse off than before, but that is not the case. He is simply showing us the next step. As we strive to become like Him, we overcome little weaknesses (and sometimes big) in order to do so. He then shows us the next step. He only shows us these weaknesses when we are ready to handle them. If this was not the case, we would simply be overwhelmed by all that we need to do.

So remember, if you’re doing everything you can to follow Christ and strengthen your relationship with Him, don’t be discouraged by the character flaws that seem to come out of nowhere. They were always there. He is just showing them to you so you know the next step. The closer you get to perfection, the more your imperfections stand out. I believe this is why some of those spiritual giants in our lives seem so humble. They have weaknesses. These may just be small ones, but when these people are so close to their Savior, they feel like their weaknesses are larger, simply because the perfection of their Savior sheds uncomfortable light on those weaknesses. But they stay close to their Lord, and trust in Him. Nephi put it best.

17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.

18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.

19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.

2 Nephi 4:17-19