Strength in times of weakness
Three times I begged the Lord to make this suffering go away. But he replied, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am. Yes, I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for Christ. Because when I am weak, I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
Once you become a follower of Christ, there is still the tendency to divide problems into two categories. There are problems that you strongly believe require God’s help and problems you think you can handle yourself. Once you do this, you will become reliant to your strength and this might affect your original resolve of trusting in Christ. The more you become in to the habit of relying on your own strength, resources, and knowledge, you will eventually assume that you can handle situations without help from God. This is contrary to what the Apostle Paul expressed from the text. No doubt that he had a strong personality and he was remarkably strong willed. In fact, He spent the first few years of his life after he became a Christian serving God in his own strength. He even stood up against the angry mobs when he had preached the gospel to them relying on his own abilities (see Acts 9:23-20). “When the believers heard about this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus, his hometown” (Acts 9:30). When the disciples took him away from the pursuing mob, this is when he realized that he could not continue relying on his strength. Then later on Paul was stricken with a thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7), whatever this was, it humbled him. He prayed three times that this affliction be removed and yet he received a different answer form God. God used him to perform incredible miracles but he could not remove the affliction that God had given him. For Paul, the acknowledgment that God’s grace is sufficient for him made him depend on God. This for Paul is a miracle in itself. Left to his own, he will continue to rely on his strength. No doubt, he could still do great things on his own but if he wanted God to be manifested through him, he needed to be dependent upon Him. Paul realized that only in his weakness that he will draw upon the strength of God. Do not let your dependence on your strength hinders you from trusting God. You are called to remain in Him like a branch growing out of the vine. In this way, bearing fruit becomes a reality. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).