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 12:10)
Other than our Lord Jesus Christ, no one in all of sacred Scripture endured more suffering than the apostle Paul. Paul did not pen his epistles from some cushy ivory tower; rather, many of Paul’s letters while he was sitting on cold prison floors while chained to Roman guards. But he endured so much more than that!
- He was scourged by the religious leaders five times
- He was beaten with rods three times
- He was shipwrecked three times
- He spent a night and a day adrift at sea
- He was stoned one time
- He was in danger from rivers and robbers
- He was in danger in cities and deserts and on the sea
- He endured hunger, thirst, and sleepless nights
So how could a man who had experienced so much pain and suffering say, “When I am weak, then I am strong?” The answer is that in his human weakness, Paul relied on and rested in God’s supernatural strength . . . the strength that sustained him through everything he had to endure for the advancement of the Gospel.
As paradoxical as it seems, it is only when we acknowledge our own weakness that we begin to advance in the strength of our Savior. Trusting in our own strength removes Jesus from the throne of our lives and inevitably leads to pride and self-sufficiency. But when we acknowledge our own weakness, God pours His strength out into our lives.
Now, God is not expecting us to seek to be weak. We have been commanded by God to do everything in our power to accomplish His will in our lives. Paul himself was inspired to exhort us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart” (Colossians 3:23). But when we realize that we cannot do it all in our own strength, we begin to tap into the strength of the Almighty. Without our weakness, we would never realize our need for God’s grace to sustain us when the storms winds of life are blowing. Paul knew it was only through the strength of his Savior that he was able to fight the good fight of faith and finish his race.
So . . . do you know this truth today? When you sense your human weakness, do you lean more into your Lord? The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that resides in you. And that power is able to sustain you in every storm. Remember, only what we do in His strength brings glory to God and eternal good to others.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!