He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. ~ Isaiah 40:29, NLT
I love the multiple meanings in this verse! It is such a simple thing, yet we find it so difficult to abide by!
Meaning #1: God gives power to those who are weak. Meaning when life, circumstances, or mistakes you have made beat you mercilessly to the ground, God gives you power (should you ask for it). When a downtrodden (to use a churchy word) believer needs power, they have only to ask God for it and wait expectantly. God gives strength to the powerless. When you have nothing, there seems to be no way out and no one to help you, God gives you strength. Basically, the traditionally accepted meaning: God helps you when you're weak and powerless. This shows the person as being powerless, not by their own choice, and God helping them.
Meaning #2: God gives power to those who are weak. Meaning, God gives power to those who make themselves weak before Him because they realize that His is the ultimate power. Those who willingly make themselves weak for God's sake will be rewarded with His power. Motivations play a HUGE role here. Making yourself weak does NOT involve self-deprecation, letting people push you around and treat you badly just so you can be shown as weak to get some of God's power to pay them back later, and it does not mean that just anyone who is weak has access to God's power. This is a believer-only offer. God gives strength to the powerless. When a believer realizes and shows in their lives via their actions that they give all power in their lives to God, God will reward that with a strength that could not have come from any person. This shows the person making themselves less so that God can be made more and can be glorified through their actions and lives.
God doesn't want His people to suffer, He loves us but he knows that a certain amount of suffering is necessary. After all, how can you know what light is unless you have experienced darkness. Will you appreciate the light as much if you had no clue what it was to stand in the dark for a while? Doubtful.