the strength of weakness

At work this week we ran in an interesting large print booklet entitled, “The Strength of Weakness” by Dan Schaeffer. It gave me a bit of a fresh take on a theme which I come back to again and again. It is not that long and well worth the read (you can download it here).

The classic passage is about  Paul’s thorn in the flesh in 2 Corinthians 12, a part of an important rebuttal against the false apostles who were undermining the faith of the still relatively young believers of the church in Corinth. Chapters 10-13 which close this letter are largely taken up with that.

What especiallly struck me from Dan Schaeffer’s thoughts is how we should expect God’s power to show up through our weaknesses. And that God’s power won’t be evident except through our weaknesses. That if we’re operating on our own strengths, God’s power is not at work. And how we should get used to this and instead of resisting it simply pray for God’s power and expect his answer and working.

I have seen that again and again in my own life, in fact to some extent it is indeed a way of life to me. At the same time I also think I can grow much in this area, that it’s not at all like I’ve arrived, probably not anywhere near the place the Apostle Paul had come to when he said that he had learned to delight in weaknesses, adding to that list a number of things I would have trouble accepting, much less delighting in (see passage linked above). But I know for a fact that it doesn’t matter at all how I feel, that even when it seems really bad or I feel beside myself and near the end of my rope, I can go on and do God’s will through simple prayer in obedience and faith. And that again and again the Lord has met me during such times not only for me but to minister to others through me. This is surely something for all of us. Our weakness actually gives an opportunity for God’s power to be manifest (a Christian way of putting it), to become evident in its working.

And so I want to learn more and more to relax in that, especially when it is a tormenting kind of weakness. When I especially seem at a loss and rather lost. Yes, God will meet us even in those places. We need to keep holding on in faith and prayer.

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