In Weakness He is Strong
April 16, 2021, 12:00 PM

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 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 12:7-10

We all have flaws; none of us immune to struggles. We often receive this statement in two vastly different ways. Some of us relate immeasurable more to our weaknesses than our strengths, to the point where we define ourselves by our shortcomings. This mindset, where all you can see are your faults, leads to despair.

On the other side, some define their lives by a lack of weakness. They never want anyone to see a crack in their armor. They run themselves ragged to keep up a charade of invincibility. Pride begins to creep in, and the ultimate end of pride is also despair. Neither approach is how God calls us to respond to our shortcomings. Falling for the cultural trap of ignoring, covering up, or overcompensating for our weaknesses keeps us from experiencing God's strength in our lives.

Weakness is any place where our strength is not enough. If you feel boxed in, pushed down, held back, beat up, or spread thin, you've collided with your weakness. Weakness can be spiritual, intellectual, emotional, circumstantial, relational, and physical. Even the strongest of us have weaknesses (Hebrews 5:2). In 2 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul addresses a few issues in Corinth's church. Some leaders within the community were bashing Paul and boasting about themselves. Unlike the "weak" Paul, these "Super Apostles" were strong leaders worth following, or at least this is the message they were peddling.

How did Paul respond to these charges against him? Rather than listing off his accomplishments and making much of himself, Paul spoke about a "thorn in his flesh" - a place where Paul's strength wasn't enough. He didn't shy away from his struggles but admitted his weakness. Paul's "thorn," his weakness, was challenging to handle. Paul was tired of the struggle, out of options, and desperate. So Paul pursued God three separate times, asking God to do what only God can do - take this place of weakness away.

God answers Paul's prayer but not in the way one would expect. It was not what Paul was looking for, nor what he wanted. Instead of removing the thorn, God gave Paul grace. He tells Paul that His power is made perfect in weakness. Instead of being bitter and jaded, Paul begins to boast and openly acknowledges his weakness. If the power of Christ would rest upon his faults, Paul was willing to expose his struggles.

The same is true for us. God gets the glory when we are willing to let Him be strong in our weakness. Weakness leads us to the point of desperate dependence on God. Without flaws, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities, we will be, just like Paul, prone to think we've got everything under control and don't need any help. Without weakness and difficulties, we are all apt to become prideful. Amid our weakness, the grace of God brings us to the point of dependence on His strength. Faith is the act of turning away from our weakness to God's perfect strength. Faith isn't just the way to become a Christian; it's also how we experience the power to live out the Christian life.

Admitting weakness is the first step to finding strength. If we're going to be people who find strength in weakness, we have to be honest about our weaknesses with God, ourselves, and others. Don't cover up your faults - allow God and others into those places. Perfect strength resides in dependence on God. His power becomes fully realized, fully seen, and fully experienced in our weaknesses. God wants to be strong for us in ways that we could never be strong for ourselves.

Our part in this is first to admit our weakness, allowing Him into the places in our lives where our strength is insufficient, but His strength is more than enough. We experience God's strength when we depend on Him in our weaknesses. Where do you need to confront and admit your weakness before you can begin to depend on God? Where is your strength insufficient?

Prayer: Father God, where I am weak, You are strong. Rather than hide from or define myself by my weaknesses, may I freely admit my struggles. Lord give me the faith to depend on You for every circumstance that I face. Show Your strength in ways I could never imagine. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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