Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
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.
In this scripture reading, Paul is describing a vision that had taken him to the third heaven. Imagine for a moment that you had been taken up to heaven and given a VIP tour. And to complicate matters, you can’t speak a word of what you actually saw. Now put yourself in Paul’s place and imagine that you were given this vision and this tour of heaven. What would be your first reaction after this vision? Well in today’s society, we would probably get a quick post up on our facebook page or get the word out via Twitter. But if you will go back and read 2 Corinthians chapter 12 in its entirety, you will find that Paul is not going to handle his vision in this manner. You won’t find Paul boasting about what he saw in heaven.
Paul writes that he will not boast about himself rather he would boast only about his weaknesses. Our society today does not favor the weak or the helpless. If you are viewed as weak you probably won’t have a chance at a political office, or be selected to compete on a reality TV show, or be noticed by the powers that be in our world today. However, Paul is telling us that this is not the way of the Kingdom of God. Jesus came to dwell among us and to turn this world upside down. It is the weak, those that are dependent upon God, that are truly headed in the right direction.
The Apostle Paul then tells us in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 and verses 7 through 9 that “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.” And Paul further tells us that he will “boast” about his weaknesses because he knows that it is through that weakness that the power of Christ is available for him and also for us today.
God chose Moses, a man that was slow in speech and who lacked confidence in his own abilities. God chose Gideon, who asked how he could be chosen to save Israel, because his clan was the weakest and he was the least in his own family. God chose Jeremiah who admitted his own weaknesses and incompetence, especially his public speaking skills. God chose Paul, who formerly persecuted followers of Christ. Who would have believed that God would use a man like Paul to spread His message to the world? The society at large would not have chosen these people for much of anything, but God chose them so that we would recognize that it is through God’s power, that these weak people were able to be effective messengers for the kingdom.
Paul tells us that God gave him a “thorn” of some sort to keep him from becoming conceited. And when Paul asks the Lord to take away this “thorn”, the Lord tells him that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God allows us to become weak so that we can call upon His name and lean upon Him for our strength.
God’s strength is available for you and me this very moment. Maybe you are feeling discouraged or maybe it seems that every decision you make is the wrong one. You could be wondering if anything is ever going to go your way and most of the time you just feel like giving up. I would say to you – that’s the good news! God is already at work in your life, He is just waiting on you to admit that you are weak and to turn to Him for strength. God’s power is made perfect in my weaknesses and in your weaknesses. Allow God to take over your life and you will be a witness to a kind of power that is not found here on this earth.
God, I am weak, and as much as I try to do things on my own, I realize that I am never truly successful unless I rely upon and acknowledge you. I acknowledge you as my rock and my strength. I ask you to help me to see and understand my weaknesses so that you can take those weaknesses and turn them into strengths for your kingdom. Amen.