The Apostle Paul is probably the most fascinating character in the Bible. He is full of contradiction, transparency, boldness, tell it like it is, nitty gritty fact finding, loyal, honesty, and uncontested love for Jesus. Yet, I’m puzzled at the things that come out of his mouth in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10(NIV)
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 Cor.12:9-10(NIV)
Contradicting or real talk. Earlier in this Chapter, he clearly is struggling with boasting. If Paul had an Instagram account, he may want to do like everyone else and post a selfie in another Church he planted, show the snake that bit him, appear buff in jail; you know how we do on social media. Act like we have it all together and life is beautiful by the pool. Paul has a thorn, a struggle, something that he cannot shake. It keeps him from boasting and bragging about his accomplishments or wins. It keeps him in a place where he says “I am weak, but God’s grace is sufficient”. Let’s be honest, no one says “I am weak, but I am strong”, it just doesn’t add up. If were honest, were really weak. I had a friend tell me that she wasn’t as strong as me, “Woooooow” I thought, I look strong to her. Laughing out loud with clinched fist, I realized, she recognized Gods power and ability to strengthen my recklessness and weakness into something that looks impactful to those around me.
It’s easier written than done, but I would rather admit “I am weak, but Gods grace is sufficient”. I could brag and make people envy some things that I think are awesome about me but then my kids would show up and the truth would be out the bag. If you have small humans, they will always expose your truth or weaknesses. Trust me, you will see the next time you’re in public and your child says something crazy but you know it’s real and you act like it’s not. Certain people or places remind me that I have issues, I need Jesus, and I’m a hot mess without him.
Delighting in weakness and hardship isn’t fun, in fact, I’m sort of shy that this verse popped up in my Bible. But the reality is God showing me, Me. I am weak, easily offended, rude, judgmental, tempted, self righteous, self-centered, irritated, annoyed, critical, just to name a few. You are to. We need Gods power and grace in our lives to accomplish anything powerful, useful, and good. Don’t let the weight room fool you, you are weak (and it differs individually) we all struggle with something. But the beauty of our transgressions is that, God is the one who makes us strong, he revives the real strength we need to do life, to make it another day, and to stay on the path he has set out for us. Today, I declare that when I am weak, then I am strong