When I am Weak, then I am Strong!

 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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. 10 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 had a weakness. 

Yes, even Apostle Paul had his moments.

Yet when one envisions him, the image more easily conjured up could be that of a mighty and fearless missionary breaking boundaries to preach Jesus Christ to the Gentile world, come what persecution and tribulation his way. Formerly a fierce opponent of Jesus Christ, Saul would come to identify more as Paul (paulos meaning “small” or “humble” in Latin) so he might become smaller, and Christ all the more magnified.

Nonetheless, Paul’s letters and missionary feats portray unrelenting boldness and strength of a giant in contrast to this “weakness” he describes.

So what was the source of his strength? Paradoxically, that very strength was rooted in Paul’s own weakness, self-described as a ’messenger of Satan',  some form of torture like a thorn constantly piercing him.

We can’t pinpoint what this weakness was. Perhaps the ambiguity of it is intentional, so that it may be more relatable to the many who would derive great comfort from Paul’s words in the centuries to come. 

We can only speculate about the thorn which so beleaguered Paul  - was it mental, physical or spiritual? Did he suffer from a physical illness? Demons from the past? Post-traumatic stress? Uncontrollable sinful inclinations? Perhaps low self-esteem, despair, failure, self-torture or bone-deep loneliness got the best of him? The list can go on, but the point is that it was unbearable and chronic. All of us have such a weakness... albeit in different forms and variations. 

But out of that weakness emerged something powerful.

Weakness, pain and suffering doesn't stop there; it makes you stronger.  

Consider a ballerina’s beautiful dance. Her graceful moves are made possible by her feet, which after years of practice, have become permanently disfigured. Only those who understand the discipline and hard work of a ballerina’s life will truly appreciate such feet.

Or consider an elegant swan. Beneath the serene water on which a poised swan moves along is actually the hard work of its webbed feet propelling the graceful motion that we so admire.

In this way, what we see could be just the surface. There is an unseen world we must tap into.

Paul had a chronic thorn in his flesh that caused him great anguish. He even pleaded with the Lord three times to have it taken away. The Lord’s reply was, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

God used the very crux of Paul’s pain as a contact point to work His grace. Weakness opened the door for God’s intervention. In turn, this made him strong. That is why Paul is able to make this deep confession: Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 

In the midst of your difficulty and suffering, God is with you! This is when you should seek Him more! Those moments of weakness when you plead with the Lord to take it away could be the beginning of something great -an entry point for His mercy and grace to manifest more gloriously in your life. That is why we look to God when dealing with our thorns.  He fills us and perfects us!  For when I am weak, then I am strong! 

Following are lyrics to Dennis Jernigan's beloved song.

"You are my strength when I am weak" 

You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all

Seeking You as a precious jewel
Lord to give up I'd be a fool

You are my all in all
Jesus Lamb of God worthy is Your name
Jesus Lamb of God worthy is Your name

Taking my sin my cross my shame
Rising again I bless your name
You are my all in all

When I fall down you pick me up
When I am dry You fill my cup
You are my all in all

Jesus Lamb of God worthy is Your name
Jesus Lamb of God worthy is Your name

Worthy is Your name
Worthy is Your name



By Bible Portal Staff 

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