“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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Paul knew the power of the gospel to transform lives. How could he not, his own life was transformed by it. From the moment of his conversion, Paul dedicated his life to the preaching of the gospel Christ had revealed to him. Among the 13 letters that he wrote, two were written to those in the church at Corinth. The first letter dealt with a variety of issues resulting from the spiritual immaturity of some within the church. Some people had a hard time breaking away from the influence of the culture around them.
Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church was in large part a defense of his apostleship. Many consider this his most personal letter. Paul suffered greatly as an apostle. His critics claimed his suffering was proof that the Spirit of God was not with him. So, in the latter portion of this letter, Paul wrote of the relationship between suffering and the power of the Holy Spirit in his calling as an apostle, his life and in the message he preached. Paul’s relationship with the Corinthian church was a complicated one. He had invested eighteen months ministering in Corinth and was deeply hurt by those who not only questioned the credibility of his ministry, but also his motives and even his personal courage. This letter is packed with emotion. His opponents boasted of their spiritual experiences, so Paul was forced to boast in his own revelations (2 Corinthians 12:1-4). But then, Paul gets to his greatest boast—his weakness. Paul had a rich heritage to brag about if he so chose. But to keep him humble, he says, “A thorn was given me…” (2 Corinthians 12:7). It’s unclear exactly what this “thorn” was, but what is clear was its purpose. Paul’s weakness served to magnify God’s power and grace. God’s grace was always sufficient for the apostle Paul. It is sufficient for you and me as well.
Weakness and suffering are two words that carry a negative connotation in society today. But the Bible’s teaching on weakness and suffering is that they are often the platform God uses to demonstrate His power. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. His grace is sufficient. There is no one that loves you like God does. So much so, He sent His Son to die. If He would do that, what wouldn’t He do? No matter what, you can trust God’s purpose for your life. Trust His strength to do what only He can do. Embrace your weakness and then watch how in and through it, God’s grace and power flow.