My weakness

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me 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.

This is a passage I have come to know and understand much better as a result of the last year of our lives. The apostle Paul had thorns he had to deal with in his life which just like we all do. We all have have and face weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties, but as Paul say it is how we respond to those situations that matter. Weakness as this passage discusses is not at all a bad thing, and not at all what we would typically consider weak.

You see when we face difficult situations and allow ourselves to be made weak it is this moments that we allow God and others into our lives. When things are tough and difficult we can act strong, act in control, act proud, act wise, or we can admit our weakness. When we admit our inability and our need for help, many might consider that weak (in a bad way), but God says He can use that to make His power perfected in us.

This is what church is suppose to be about, this is what Jesus prayed for in the book of John, that we would be open, honest, trusting, and transparent to God and others. When we do that something special happens, we become united with God and with others and people see something counter to our culture in that. People see real love, real community, real people helping each other, real prayer, and a real God. That is how God’s power is made perfect, but how often are we weak with God and others.

Here are a few thoughts to consider as you consider how God might make his power perfected in your weakness.

Have you been open and honest with another person about the struggles you face in life and how those struggles affect you? I have found that until I am open and honest with another person I am normally not being open and honest with God. I might be telling God, but I am not letting God in.

When you consider your difficulties and struggles in life do you spend most of the time complaining or asking why?

Do you realize that many of the things we view as difficulties and struggles God is allowing to happen so that we will be made weak before him and others?

We consider the things that happen to us or do not happen to us, the things we get or don’t get as blessings or not blessings (curses), but maybe the things themselves are never meant to be the blessings or curses, maybe the way respond to the things and how we deepen our relationship with God is intended to be the blessings. Maybe the good and bad, the easy and difficult, the fun and terrible, the beautiful and ugly things in life our only meant to lead us to the blessing, a more full relationship with Jesus Christ.

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  1. January 18, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    I for one, can truly testify to this. Until last year, I’d often thought I understood what this verse was all about, and equally often testified that I was just dealing with my thorn in the flesh etc, when I developed tougher medical problems last year than in the prior 12 odd years of chronic rheumatic pain issues. However, a month into my new problem last year, the Lord led me to my first healing service in as many years (I’d been badly “burnt” by previous errant churches in this area), but this one definitely changed something. At the time I hadn’t felt any healing of body, but did know something had happened. From there on for the next 6 odd months He walked me through yet tougher times, until eventually I heard what it was He was telling me – a simple truth I’d heard all my Christian life and which I adhered to in most areas EXCEPT my health (for lots of reasons), but never realised it until He revealed it to me. I basically realised that I put the doctors in His place and always looked to them to heal me first, without ever once asking God to do so – I would tend more to ask Him to give the docs wisdom to do so instead! It was quite a tough lesson to learn but yet within a month of truly repenting and submitting to His Will only for my health, He healed me of the problem which was awesome and a wonderful Christmas miracle and blessing for me. Now, for the first time in 12 years+ I’m pain free and off ALL meds (was previously on v strong narcotics!), and looking ahead to a wonderful year. So I have truly learnt the deeper meaning of Paul’s statement here, and also can for the first time truthfully state I’d go through it all over again, if just to learn more lessons of that nature, because I would never have done so otherwise. Appreciated your post. Blessings, TKR.

  2. Scotti
    January 19, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    I have also spent considerable time pondering this verse and I enjoyed reading your insights.

    Why do you feel that being open and honest with another person about struggles helps to be fully open with God? My thinking is that God, more than anyone else, can understand more fully my particular struggles. Some struggles are so personal it seems best to only pray to the Lord about them.

    Certainly in James we are told to “confess our sins to each other and pray for each other so that we may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

    Well, interesting post. You got me thinking.

    God Bless!
    Scotti
    http://scotti.wordpress.com

  3. January 19, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Scotti,

    That is a great question. It is not that you cannot be open and honest with God without being open with another person, and surely as you mentioned God is bigger and more amazing then we could ever imagine and is capable of understanding completely with all of our struggles. The point I am trying to make is not a point of understanding on God’s end, it is on our end. God alwasys understand, but it seems many times He is waiting on us to understand.

    I think there is something powerful in the verse you quoted from James. Much of healing from the struggles in life comes from our openness and honesty with God and others. I have found that I can talk with God about my struggles before I talk with anyone else, but typically I am the only one doing the talking and nothing in my wants to listen, I just want to vent and complain. When I allow myself to be open and honest with another person I typically find myself more open and honest to listen, learn, and be healed by God. When I begin listening instead of complaining and shouting I typically begin to see my circumstances through a different perspective. As an opportunity to grow in my relationship with God which is the blessing that all circumstances good and bad offers.

  4. January 19, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    You have no idea how much I needed to be reminded of that verse today. Thank you.
    PS – I’ve alluded to it a bit on my blog.

  5. anonymous
    January 22, 2007 at 3:12 am

    Thank you so much for writing this. It’s exactly what I need to read at this point in my life.

  6. January 22, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    I am glad that this was able to be of a blessing to you. I pray that as you continue working through whatever life is throughing at you, either good or bad. That you will find the blessing of knowing Jesus more in the midst of the circumstances.

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