Grace in Weaknesses

Don't be discouraged today. Yes, you're aware of your weaknesses and failures, but for each of them there’s forgiving, transforming grace.

When you read it, it doesn’t seem right. It seems that you’ve entered some turvy, inside-out universe. But Paul is both serious and dead right in what he says:

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, perse­cutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:7-10)

Fasten your seat belts; here we go. God chooses for you to be weak to protect you from you and to cause you to value the strength that only He can give. In this way, the weaknesses that He sends your way are not impediments to the good life. They are not in the way of His loving plan. They are not signs of His lack of care. They are not indicators of the failure of His promises. They do not expose gaps in the theology that we hold dear. They are not indications that the Bible contradicts itself when it says that God will meet all of your needs. No, these weaknesses are tools of His zealous and amazing grace. They protect you from the arrogance of self- reliance that tempts us all. They keep you from thinking that you’re capable of what you’re not. They remind you that you are needy and were created to be dependent on One greater than you. They cause you to do what all of us in some way resist doing—humbly run to God for the help that only He can give.

So your weaknesses are not the big danger that you should fear. What you should really fear are your delusions of strength. When you tell yourself that you are strong, you quit being excited about God’s rescuing, transforming, and empowering grace. Paul actually celebrated his weaknesses, because as he did, the power of God rested upon him. He didn’t live a fearful, discouraged, and envious life; he was content because he knew weakness is the doorway to real power, power that only God can and willingly does supply.


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