Friday, January 7, 2000

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 -- On Weakness and Strength

"For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
2 Corinthians 12:8-10

This scripture is amazing.  Isn’t it interesting how he glories in weakness?   Why?   Weakness sucks.  It’s horrible when you can't control things, and can't be exactly who you want to be... so, why would anyone glory in it?   I think that it all comes back to humility... vulnerability... inviting Christ into our lives.  If we were strong all the time, then we wouldn't even seek Christ, because we would be able to handle it... and we wouldn't seek other people, and build a community, because we would be fine as individuals.   Our weaknesses are what make life interesting, help us to know that we *need* help... from other people, and from God.   

Right before this Paul is talking about his "thorn in the flesh," and that is what he is seeking relief from.  I think we all have our thorns in the flesh... things that hurt us, but we can't seem to remove.  So, what does Paul do? He prays. Talks to God about it, asks him to please take it away.   And God says, my strength is made perfect in weakness.  What does that mean?  I think that it means a couple of things... one, that God's power is fully manifest when making weak things strong.  Healing the lame, offering sight to the blind.  Offering life and a new chance to a woman about to be stoned for adultery... if he made someone already strong into the bionic man, it wouldn't be quite as cool... and would basically go against everything he is trying to do.  He was teaching us to be one... to strengthen our brethren... not to make one person "better" than another.

Anyway... the second thing I think is that God's strength is made perfect when we draw upon it... and we only do that in our weakness.  What good is strength if it isn't used?  Then Paul goes on and says that he will glory in his infirmities, for when he is weak, then he is strong... what is that about?  My guess is that when we are weak, vulnerable, submissive... that is the only time that we welcome others' strength into our lives.  when we are weak, we accept the power of God, when we are vulnerable we accept the power of love into our lives... it is hard to do those things, but when we do, and we can feel that power and that incredible love in our lives, then everything seems to work... and we are drawing upon more power and love then we have ever had in our lives.  So, when we can accept our weakness, and open up to others... we really *are* stronger than any other time.

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