embracing weakness

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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.

I don’t think we naturally embrace weakness of any kind. And we may well feel threatened by such.

The Apostle Paul struggled with it himself. Whatever the weakness was that he begged for the Lord to remove, it was most certainly nothing less than “a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan” which tormented him. Maybe it was from the stoning he had survived, not to mention all the other troubles because of his witness. Whatever the case, he learned to accept and even delight in such. Because instead of Paul being strong, the Lord was strong in Paul’s weakness.

This is vital for us too, as followers of Jesus. That we would not shun whatever weakness we have, but accept it. Of course I’m not talking about weakness in terms of giving in to sin. Though when we commit even that to God for forgiveness and cleansing, God can change us over time and encourage others who so struggle through our witness.

This must be a continual attitude, not just one that comes and goes. I can’t hold on to strength and live by that today, and then embrace whatever weakness comes to the fore tomorrow. I must hold on to this attitude of embracing weakness in order that I may experience Christ’s strength instead of my own. That Christ might be seen in me for his sake and for the gospel.