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Boasting in Our Weakness 

We live in an era in which life is a constant struggle. Everyone in the world wants to be healthy and strong. Nobody likes to be sick, weak, depressed or worried. We all face various problems and tragedies. The Apostle Paul also had a constant struggle in life and that’s why he says, “There was given me a thorn in my flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7). Scholars have differing opinions about what may have been his “thorn in the flesh:”

  •     Weak eyesight
  •     Permanent health problems
  •     Divorce

God’s people face many problems, such as complex and chronic illness, permanent health problems, and physical disabilities. Is it possible to be happy if someone is physically disabled, sick or weak? You may also have some disability, illness, or a worry that time and again causes disappointment, and loss of joy. No one but God alone knows your innermost feelings and emotions!

a)      Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “I will boast about my weakness.”

Is this statement correct in the context of a common person? Because people feel unhappy and worried about their weaknesses, but Paul says he will boast about his weakness. This is amazing because it is totally opposite to human nature and psyche. It seems as if Paul is from another planet or he likes it when he is weak. Or, perhaps he has accepted his weakness in a positive way and so he is able to boast about it.

b)      Paul not only says that he boasts about his weakness he also writes that, “I will delight in my weakness.”     

It is important to note that Paul has not only accepted his negative circumstances but he also expresses his joy and happiness over them. One can only be happy amidst pain, negative circumstances and problems by a divine and unseen source or power. Such joy and happiness cannot be bought with money or obtained by knowledge, vigor, youthfulness and even beauty. Such joy comes only from God the Almighty.

c)      Paul moves on and says, “I will delight about my weakness all the more gladly.”

Here Paul has laid special emphasis on, “delight in weakness.” There is a great and amazing joy in his heart that moves him to delight in his weakness. Paul’s statement presents a positive picture of his experience that shows his inner strength and maturity. Divine joy is a result of maturity and inner strength. The following are characteristics of Paul’s joy:

  •      This joy is above human circumstances
  •      This joy is totally free of cost
  •      This is an unseen joy
  •      This is an inner joy
  •      This is an eternal joy
  •      This is an abundant joy
  •      This is an unlimited joy
  •      This is divine joy

Now the question is, “Why does Paul boast in his weakness?” He gives us some reasons for this boasting in the same text (2 Cor. 12:9-10):

1)      The first reason Paul states is, “Because when I am weak then I am strong.”

We all know someone is strong when the person is healthy and vigorous. But Paul says, “When I am weak then I am strong.” In other words, healthy in sickness, hopeful in hopelessness, fresh in exertion, happy in worries, restored in crisis, and strong in weakness. Paul is trying to say that when my own strength is exhausted and I become weak, right at that moment a new strength is produced in me and, due to that strength, I become strong. He says this is not my strength, rather, “I can do all things through him who gives me strength, (Phil. 4:13),”  He goes on to say, “…that’s why I delight in my weakness, because I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (my paraphrase, Phil. 4:12-13).

2)      Paul’s second reason is: “Because God’s power is made perfect in weakness.”

Once upon a time a minister shared the story of his personal experience of becoming very sick. His condition remained very bad for a long time. After he recovered from his sickness he was still very physically weak, but God used him even more powerfully, in spite of his physical weakness. Through his experience, Paul also concluded that God’s power turns his weakness into strength. Just like an object of iron can absorb enough magnetic power from a magnet to become another magnet! We are weak but God’s power covers our weakness and makes us stronger. Paul seems to be saying, “I feel proud and happy that someone cares for me, helps and protects me. He’s the one who makes me stronger and makes His power perfect in my weakness. And that’s the very reason that I will delight all the more in my weakness.”

3)      The third reason Paul states is, “so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

The power of Christ was available for Paul. It surrounded and rested upon him, just as it was with the people of Israel in wilderness through a cloud and the pillar of fire (Exod. 13:21). In his weakness Paul experienced that he was safe due to the power of Christ. That power is also available to all of us in our weakness. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Heb 13:8). We don’t give God a chance to demonstrate his power in us, upon us, and through us. We don’t give God’s power a chance to rest on us. Because we are limited, so we make an unlimited God limited as well.

No matter who you are you need to come before God and request Him to turn your weakness into his power. Ask Him personally and plead with Him to show His power and strength in your weakness. Let His power rest on you. God can do all things for you because nothing is impossible for Him. Paul, in his problems, boasts in the Lord and that was the secret of his success and spiritual growth. He wrote these words with all the confidence, “I delight all the more in my weakness.”

Can you also say this in your walk with the Lord, “I delight all the more in my weakness?”

  •      If you are without the Lord, then it is impossible to say it.
  •       If you are in the Lord, then it is very difficult to say it.
  •       Only if you are strong in the Lord, and have a deep relationship with Him, can you say, “I delight all the more in my weakness.”

Decide for yourself where you stand!

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