2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That 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.
The strength we possess as humans is limited. We do not like to admit it, I suppose. Yet, it is true that our strength can only take us so far. We can implement the most cutting edge and up to date self help ideas, or recite positive statements continually, the outcome will be that our own power is limited. Don’t be discouraged by this point, there is a message of hope in the scriptures that I believe will lift us up today.
In 2 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul lets us in on his “thorn in his flesh” that continued to “torment” him. It was a big deal, it must have been a heavy enough burden that He actually pleaded and begged God to remove it. God’s response to his pleading is to say “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). That seems upside down doesn’t it? “My power works best in weakness”? Shouldn’t it be “my power will give you unlimited strength”? or "Go ahead you can do it, you have the strength?"
Think about that for a minute. God used this man to influence the early Church and take the gospel to numerous countries, indeed he suffered a fair bit for the cause of God’s work. And in his moment of weakness, he begs God to help him, and God basically says nope. God doesn’t stop there. God tells Paul that it’s when he’s weak that the perfect power of God is working best. Imagine that! We need to be weak to see God’s power work best. Upside down eh? We see weakness as a barrier, God is using it to support us. Our strength as humans may be limited, but when we are at our limits, God steps in along side of us and by his strength gives a lift to us. It is the experience of this truth that the apostle Paul in another letter says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
Let this truth penetrate deep into your mind and spirit today. Challenging seasons come to all of us. As you know, sometimes these seasons can gently break in upon us, or these seasons of challenge can hit like an unexpected tsunami. I am sure you know what I am talking about. Regardless of how we enter into hard times, we have to rely on God’s help in those times, because what we possess on our own just isn’t sufficient. We need God’s strength. Otherwise we choose supports that help only for a moment and the consequences of these supports being chosen can lead us down a dark and difficult path.
So, when we have our own “thorn in the flesh,” we can gain power, God’s strengthening power, by admitting we can’t do it on our own. Upside down I Know, but believe me it is true.
28Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
God, your grace is sufficient for me. Whether in wealth or poverty, hunger or feasting, I will, like the apostle, boast in my weaknesses. For it is my weaknesses, Lord, that make Your grace visible even more in my life. In my life so far, I have been upheld by this grace You supply. Amen.