“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But 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.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: 8-10 (NIV)
People go to great lengths to develop strength. They will spend hours in the gym trying to build their muscles to optimal capacity. We desire to be strong, self-sufficient, and self-reliant. But, what do you do when you are weak?
Paul was quite aware of his weakness. He referred to it as his “thorn in his flesh.” Paul, the man of God who wrote several books in the New Testament, had a weakness in his life that he wanted to dismiss. Yet, when he asked God to take it away, God’s response was quite different than we would expect. God wasn’t surprised at what was going on in Paul’s life; he was keenly aware. But, God was most concerned about Paul’s heart, not his comfort or convenience. Were there hard days? I could imagine that there were. But those were the days that Paul had to lean more into Jesus. We know that God allowed a weakness to be part of Paul’s life so that God’s power could be displayed vividly in his life. When we face something that we don’t want to face, our automatic prayer can sometimes be to ask God to remove the pain, discomfort, inconvenience, or person from our lives. When we think of miracles, we think of deliverance, healing, and victory. While all of those things are true, maybe there is a type of miracle that happens in our heart when we face hard things. If we don’t let bitterness take root in our hearts, we come to see God’s character as strong and mighty to save. We recognize that His power is greater, because our weakness beckons. In the moments when our physical limitations stand facing us in the mirror, we can still walk forward in God’s grace and strength. As you walk through hard circumstances or face weaknesses in your life, God’s power can also be vividly displayed to other people if you allow it. For in the very darkest moments, our weakness gives us greater strength if we lean into Jesus and live through his strength.
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