The Strength of Weakness
[Read 2 Corinthians 10:1–13:13]
6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
[2 Corinthians 12:6-10]
The first gunshot heard at many ten-kilometer races and marathons is not for runners but for wheelchair racers. These people have taken what many would consider a disadvantage and turned it into an asset. They have taken one of life’s setbacks and have turned it into a major victory.
Like wheelchair racers, Paul, too, has a physical disadvantage. He never really explains what it is, but we can tell from what he says that it is painful and crippling. Paul does not let this condition overcome him, however. Instead, he counts it to his advantage. As you read, think of your “limitations” and how you can turn them into strengths for Christ’s sake.
Today, it is not easy to find someone so willing to boast about a personal weakness as Paul was. That is because weaknesses are seen as liabilities, not assets. But God sees the situation exactly the opposite. When we are strong and confident in our abilities, we may never notice our need for God. However, when we are weak and incapable, we may realize our need for him.
Have you ever felt weak? Your human frailty—whether physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual—gives God an opportunity to display his power in your life. Admit your weaknesses, and rely on God’s power to be effective in those areas. Thank him for your talent, but thank him also for your weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). They will help you develop Christian character, accomplish God’s work, and deepen your worship.