2 Corinthians 12:9 is probably one of the most famous in the Bible.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”
I wonder, though, how often we notice Paul’ application of those words.
Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (9b-10)
Do you take pleasure when you see your weaknesses? When people insult you? When you go through trials? When you suffer for being a Christian?
That seems crazy. Take pleasure?
In some Bibles, it translates Paul’s words, “I’m content.” But the words are actually much stronger. They’re the same words God used when he said, “This is my Son. In Him I am well pleased.”
How could Paul say, “I take pleasure in weaknesses, and in all my trials and sufferings?” Is he a masochist or something?
I don’t know about you, but it’s much easier for me to complain. To ask “Why, God? I don’t deserve this!”
I think Paul could say he took pleasure in those things, because in his weakness, he rediscovered the joy of grace.
What’s the joy of grace?
It’s recognizing first: “God I need you.”
And then it’s seeing that though you’re weak, though you fail, and though you have nothing to give God that would cause him to help you in your time of trouble, yet in love, he does.
“You have nothing to give to God that would cause him to help you.”
That’s something I think we especially tend to forget.
So often we think, “I deserve God’s blessings, because I do this, and this, and this.”
That’s why we get so frustrated when we face struggles and trials in our lives. We think we don’t deserve them.
But the truth is we fail God so often every day. How often do we take him for granted? How often do prioritize other things over him? How often do we neglect him completely? Maybe we read our Bible in the morning and pray. But then the rest of the day, we barely give him a second thought. Instead every decision we make, every thing that we do is done in our own wisdom and strength. That’s true even for people in ministry. I do that sometimes.
But that’s not living by God’s grace.
But when we are confronted with our weaknesses, when we are confronted with situations that we can’t handle, it forces us to remember God and to rely on his grace once again. And though we don’t deserve it, God pours his grace and love on us again.
So when Paul faced his weaknesses, when he faced his trials and struggles, he treated them as reminders from God, and he cried out once again, “God, I can’t do this! I need you!”
And in remembering that, he rediscovered the joy of a relationship with God.
Are you ashamed of your weaknesses? Of your failures? Are you struggling with trials bigger than you?
Don’t run from God in shame or anger.
Instead, cry out, “God, I can’t do this! I need you!”
And if you do, you will learn the meaning of the words,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”