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. (Corinthians 12:10)
Other than our Lord Jesus Christ, no one in all of sacred Scripture endured more suffering than the apostle Paul. Paul was not reclining in the comfort of some plush ivory tower when he wrote his epistles; many of them were penned from prison floors while chained to Roman guards. And that was not all. Paul was —
- Five times scourged by the religious leaders
- Three times beaten with rods
- Three times shipwrecked
- One night and a day adrift at sea
- One time stoned and left for dead
- In danger from rivers and robbers
- In danger in cities and deserts and on the sea
- Forced to endure hunger, thirst, and sleepless nights
So how could a man who had gone through 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, which amounts to removing Jesus from the throne of our lives, 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 week. We have been commanded by God to do everything in our power to accomplish His will in our lives. But when we realize we cannot do it in our own strength, we begin to tap into the strength of the Almighty. Without our weakness, we would never know our need for God’s grace to sustain us when we are experiencing trials and difficulties. Paul knew that it was only through the strength of his Savior that he was able to fight the good fight of faith and finish his race.
Do you know this truth today? When you sense your human weakness, do you lean more into your Lord? The power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that resides in you (Ephesians 1:19-20), and that power is able to sustain you in the midst of every storm. Remember, only what we do in His strength brings glory to God and eternal good to others. There truly is strength in weakness!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!