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God’s strength in times of weakness

...even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me...For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Failures are unwelcome for they hinder the prospect or possibility of success. It is true that self-confidence is developed when one continues to succeed. But failures are part of living in this world. Life is filled with a series of success and failure. There are many lessons learned during times of failures. From the text, the apostle Paul was reminded of the fact that God is not glorified when life’s pursuit is just to succeed by relying on one’s own abilities. This is why he mentioned about God allowing him to be afflicted by a thorn in the flesh. We are not sure as to what is the nature of this affliction. But because of this affliction, the more he realized that he should be dependent upon God. This is what humbled him to the point of submitting to God. Before he came to know Christ, he was proud of his own achievements relying on his own abilities. He was absorbed to himself that all he cared was to accomplish his goals in life. Not until God took hold of his life that he realized all his achievements were nothing compared to what God did for him to secure his salvation. “We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!” (Philippians 3:3-4). “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7-8). Despite the fact that Paul prayed to God that He will remove his affliction, the answer he received from God was much better than what he was praying for. He realized that God was not after letting his children achieve personal successes but was more interested in helping them grow trusting Him. He discovered that through his failures in life God’s grace and His working are far richer compared to his best efforts. God wants us to find Him as the only source of comfort and security. This is why Paul could say in the midst of his affliction that God’s “power works best in weakness.” God delights in displaying his power in situations where human strength is weak. When God’s people are weak, then God’s strength becomes evident.


Noel De Guzman

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