2 Corinthians 12:10, (NIV) says: “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.” Paul’s greatest asset was his weakness. Many of us cannot share the same thoughts as Paul. We don’t want others to see our weaknesses and our infirmities. Paul, however, saw those weaknesses and infirmities as an opportunity for God to show up in his life even more! I remember reading this incident- once when Billy Graham was asked what he would do first when he gets to heaven, he replied, “the first thing I am going to do is to ask, why me, Lord? Why did you choose a farm boy to preach to so many people…?”
Having an understanding of our utter unworthiness for the least blessings of God is very important. The more we have this realization and ‘pleasure’ in our weaknesses, the more the Lord makes us worthy of his great blessings. In Ruth 2:10 we see Ruth asked Boaz, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes seeing I am a stranger?” In 1 Samuel 25:4 we see Abigail too realizes her unworthiness to be David’s wife: “I am your servant and am ready to serve you and wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” See what John the Baptist said in Mark1:7 when people from all over Judaea and Jerusalem flocked to him to be baptized of him “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.”
Paul didn’t want to focus on the external things although his credentials were indisputable. Paul was not bragging about his qualifications as an apostle but in reality, He mostly described his weaknesses and suffering. He was determined not to boast about his experiences. In that way, Paul has turned boasting upside down. It’s not that he doesn’t care if others think he is weak. It’s that he truly is weak and he wants everyone to know it. For the sake of Christ, he is content even with all sorts of trials and suffering. He has made peace with the fact that such weakness in his life is exactly what is needed. The same way as believers we don’t have to convince others of the great things that have been manifested in and through our lives for we recognize and understand that those things are a direct reflection of the Lord and what He has chosen to do through and in us. Let us allow our lives –the good, the bad and the ugly – to point to God’s grace and longsuffering toward us so that He always gets the glory!
While reading through this letter from Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth; my curiosity was appeased by my discovery which made me consider silently, “Why would the Apostle boast in his infirmities, reproaches, needs, persecutions and distress for Christ’s sake instead of boasting of his achievements in life or in Christ since his new birth?” When we look into his life deeply we understand despite being through so much already in tests and trials, the Apostle had a thorn in his flesh which he earnestly sought the Lord to remove but He did not and when the Lord finally responded, His answer to Paul was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Understanding clearly that God was not going to change His will, He stopped complaining and entreating God about his troubles, he accepted His Grace and most gladly rather chose to boast in them, that the power of Christ may rest upon him. It became more surprising for me to know that Christ was the main reason why he took delight in his infirmities.
How often we wish, pray and entreat God concerning overwhelming issues, global crises and difficult situations we have absolutely no control over. We must give the Lord our weaknesses and He will give us His grace – He can use our weakness to glorify Himself and benefit us in the process. As believers, we must trust God in all areas of our lives where we are the weakest or where we suffer the most. Christians who are trusting God are most powerful when they have the least self-reliance. I am not sure if I am at the point in my life where I can say, as Paul, that I delight in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties but this I do know….No matter what I face I have this assurance that Christ is my strength! I need not fear or stress over my weaknesses because when I am weak He is strong and will uphold me and sustain me. Let us therefore learn from Apostle Paul that God’s Grace is sufficient for us, HIS STRENGTH is made PERFECT in our OWN WEAKNESS. When we think we are WEAK, are we truly STRONG because the power of Christ rests upon us as we rejoice and not despair.