Therefore, 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.” 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. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Whatever Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’ was, it wasn’t enjoyable. He asked Jesus repeatedly to remove it. To have the problem healed (or solved, maybe) would free Paul up for more ministry, yes? He would be unencumbered by the hardship and could serve Christ better.
Or maybe not.
Our weaknesses are not a negative thing in Christ’s Kingdom because Jesus has none. He is perfect and He is powerful. Jesus is the Almighty and nothing is impossible with Him. His response to Paul shows that our weaknesses are not a problem in His Kingdom.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Our weaknesses provide the platform for Christ’s power to be displayed and for His glory to be seen!
I try not to think about it, but my strengths and weaknesses are on public display. People talk about them. That’s weird, but it happens. People will express appreciation about my strengths to me and their criticism about my weaknesses to others. People have said ‘never statements’ about me. I hear about it sometimes, and it’s okay. Painful, but okay. They might be right.
Paul’s words are striking to me. He said that he DELIGHTS in his weaknesses. He DELIGHTS in hardships, persecution and difficulties… and he had more of those things that most of us ever will. Combined.
Paul captured this truth that is so evasive. We work to eliminate our weakness, avoid hardships and solve difficulties. Paul embraced them. The reason? In those things the power of Christ is demonstrated!
For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
One key phrase in the passage is ”For Christ’s sake” (vs. 10). For His sake and for His glory Paul delighted in these things and found strength in his weaknesses.
Can this evasive truth be lived out? Can we delight in our weaknesses when those are what performance reviews are looking to solve? Can we delight in difficulties?
When we know and experience the power of Christ working in and through us… when His power ‘rests on us’ – then we can delight in these things! Anything of value comes about, not due to our abilities, but by the reality of Christ in us. All glory goes to Him, not us, and our lives achieve their grand purpose.
So instead of escaping pressure, I will rest in it. Instead of hiding weaknesses, I will admit them. In stead of solving all difficulties I will delight in them. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Lord Jesus, this is easier said than done! Show yourself strong in my weaknesses and bring glory to Yourself today.