Words of Hope: The Power of Weakness
Dad loved scripture. Memorization was a big part of our lives together. We would drive and pray scripture aloud. For example, we memorized 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. Dad might say the first verse, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you for My power is made perfect in weakness.’” We would take some time to meditate on weakness and how it feels. What are times you felt weak? Then we might think of all the examples of weakness in the Bible. Jesus born in a manager, coming from Nazareth, stripped of His clothing, falling while carrying the cross.
I don’t particularly like weakness. I like to feel strong, in control, and powerful. What is God asking of me in this passage?
One of the verses goes on to say, “Therefore, I delight in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties.” What a list! Definitely not my list of delights. My list would have family, love, friendship, conversation, pets, joy, music, etc. I wonder which one on Paul’s list is the biggest struggle. Persecutions seem overwhelming. We were recently in Italy in one of my favorite churches. It has life-size marble statues of those who were martyred for their faith. They are holding the instruments of their torture. This seems unbearable.
For this time in my life, insults seem top of the list. I hate to be insulted, especially for my faith. Sometimes I can confuse insults toward my faith and insults toward me personally. When I parse this out, insults for God seem less problematic. If someone is insulting my faith, praise be to God for He can use this insult for good, His power at work. If someone insults me, my life, character, work, or family, that too is bearable though it stings. If I were with Dad, I might ask him a time he felt insulted and how God worked through that experience to bring grace.
The final part of the passage says, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” I say this aloud to myself. It speaks to me about the seduction of perfection. How easy it is to desire to appear perfect. There is a power in piety, to be above difficulty. I think about this in honor of my dad. What is God asking of me through these verses? I invite you to search what God is speaking to you through this passage.
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: 9-11