Strength in Weakness
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 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.
How do people do it? How do they withstand the Hurricane Katrina – like blows that pummel their lives? The wind, the waves, the surges of heartbreak, crashing one after another, unrelenting in their destruction. How do these people survive ... and still lift their faces to the Lord? How can they be so strong when they are at their weakest?
I know the answer. I know it because I’ve lived it. Over the course of my life, some violent storms have hit me. But somewhere in the middle of each storm, God’s voice reminds me that He provides sufficient grace for this trial. And when I am weak, He is always very strong. “...therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Note that connection between my weakness and Christ’s power. “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.” It’s the hard times, the unhealthy times and the hurting times that reveal my weaknesses. And it’s also during those times that God shows up strong.
We often treat suffering like a game of dodgeball. When anything hard comes at us, we jump out of the way. We duck, dive, and hide. We spend our whole lives trying to avoid anything painful or hard. But there’s a better kind of life - a deeper, more fulfilling kind of life—that isn’t about avoiding pain. It’s about finding God faithful and sufficient in the midst of whatever trials or thorns He allows. There’s something about our weakness that opens the flow of God’s strength. In the midst of a trial, there’s a power coming into your life that you’ve never experienced before, because you never needed it so desperately before. Only when you’re personally weak can you experience this supernatural strength.
When you see a hard thing coming your way, try a different reaction: I may not want this, I certainly didn’t choose it, but I can accept it and be content even now. I know God’s grace is sufficient to get me through it. I’m going to see the power of Christ in my life in an incredible way. I’m weak, but He’s strong.
God never allows a thorn without providing sufficient grace and strength in our weaknesses. Sufficient grace is not just enough to survive, but enough so that we can have supernatural joy in the midst of anything He allows us to go through. That’s strength.
A friend and ministry partner in our church has lived this over the last 11 months. Last October he was diagnosed with a rare cancer. Although no one would have thought anything about it if he had been upset and discouraged he took a different approach. Walking out of the hospital I asked him how he is doing and if he was discouraged, he said "God is good. He has this! If he is willing to allow me to go through this I am willing to go through it. I know God will use it for His good." Talk about humbling a preacher. It made me re-think how I have handled the trials in my own life...
Father God, by faith I believe that Your grace is sufficient for me. No matter what. I believe that each day You will provide the strength and grace I need for that day. Like the Apostle Paul, I admit that I’m weak. I need You. Only when I’m weak can I experience Your real strength. Please teach me not to avoid suffering but to be content. You are enough for me. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.