Strength in Weakness

“My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Such intriguing words. This thought-provoking quote is actually shortened from the original text of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church:

2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Paul suffered from an unspecified “thorn in the flesh.” I’m sure most of us can relate. Here was a man who could work all sorts of miracles. Paul’s handkerchiefs could heal people, so powerful was even the sweat of his brow, but here we find him asking God for deliverance from this thorn. He asked, asked and asked again. On his third request, he got a surprising response from the Lord. This thing hadn’t come upon him by accident. His lack of deliverance was no accident either. His prayers weren’t falling on deaf ears. He was afflicted because the Lord saw that this weakness would be beneficial. His strength, and the Lord’s strength in Paul’s circumstances, would be perfected in this weakness, not diluted by it.

Paul, rather unexpectedly, regarded the whole thing in a very positive light.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Glorying in infirmities? Say what?! Taking pleasure in reproach and lack and distress?! His joyful attitude shows that he grasped a truth it would baffle most of us to even begin to understand: God knows what He’s doing.

Paul happily accepted his position. He was suffering, but God had told him his weakness was actually his strength. He knew that reliance upon himself was a vain pursuit. God holds the reigns and controls the outcomes. God is strong. In fact, God is all-powerful. God didn’t need any help from Paul to accomplish what He needed to do. Paul’s submission to God’s will and acceptance of his own mortal weaknesses would be more beneficial to his ministry than a faithless railing against adverse circumstances. It was all alright. God was strong, so Paul, though weak, was strong.

It’s a lot to digest, isn’t it? Thinking of my own life and my own circumstances, I can clearly see where I’m not so gladly accepting of God’s will as was Paul. I can see where I don’t act like my weaknesses are a blessing. I can see where my faith is small. I only pray that God will help me to step out of the mindset that is common to man and learn to revel in my adversities. Lucky me! When I am weak, then am I strong.

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