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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 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 12:9-10
For the last ten years or so I have experienced a gradual diminishing of my physical strength and dexterity. I guess it’s to be expected when you reach your sixties. While it may be expected, I don’t have to like it, and I don’t!
Our culture values strength, especially in its men. You’ve probably seen the strongest man competitions or celebrated victories and agonized over defeats in the Olympics – wrestling, running, jumping, weight lifting, cycling – impressed by the individual feats of strength. And then we go to the gym where we watch muscle-ripped specimens moving through the various weight machines as they work out. (Maybe that describes you!)
Like I said, our society values strength, especially in men, and not just in muscles. We hear that “only the strong survive,” and we are told that we must be tough and invincible in order to succeed in this world. But God’s way is different.
No tough guy/gal pretense is needed with him. Instead, he wants us to be humble and vulnerable in his presence. He also promises to use our “weaknesses” for his glory. Paul struggled with many weaknesses – a “thorn in [his] flesh” (2 Corinthians 12: 7), “hardships,” “persecutions,” and other “difficulties.” Rather than allowing his struggles and problems to defeat him, Paul found his strength in Christ’s power and perfection, allowing him to “delight” in his weaknesses.
Where are you weak? Rejoice! God can use your limitations and problems. And people will glorify God and be drawn to Christ when they see his divine power working in and through you, making you strong. Be a strong weak person. I am.