2 Corinthians 12; 1 Chronicles 1-2; Habakkuk 3
Paul was apparently not an imposing figure physically. Some in the Corinthian Church made comments about Paul that appear to imply that they thought he talked a big game, but he was pretty weak in person. Paul sought to remind the Corinthians that power for the Christian rests not upon physical prowess, but on spiritual strength and how close they were to God. He detailed an argument he had with God regarding a physical infirmity and God’s response. “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) Paul admonished us to follow his own example as he followed Christ. Perhaps the example he gives here might be a bit extreme. Imagine taking pleasure in sickness. Imagine rejoicing as you think about being in need or being persecuted because you are following Christ. Paul, who had been left for dead on many occasions, reminded the Corinthians that he rejoiced in his troubles because God’s grace was able to shine through his weaknesses. How easy is it to be so strong, or appear to be so strong, that God has nowhere to work in us? Most of us try to hide our weaknesses or find some way to compensate for them. What if, instead of covering up our weaknesses, our troubles, our problems, we allowed God to use them as an avenue of His grace to others? When people look at us do they marvel at how strong and wonderful we are or do they see that in our weakness, in our troubles, we have a God who brings amazing grace. Perhaps if we spent more time letting God show His amazing grace through us we would inspire more people to seek Him. Instead of boasting in your strength, instead of complaining about your troubles, let others see God’s power, strength and grace in the midst of your weakness.
Oh Lord, how easily I cover up my weaknesses, not wanting others to see them. Help me to glory in the problems that come my way so that Your Spirit might shine through and others can see Your grace at work in me. Let others see that any strength that flows from me really comes from You.