Friday, February 20, 2015


Life is full of ups and downs. When we are on the low end of a see-saw through illness or trials of various kinds, God has His own way of lifting us up. It may seem like a strange way to us. I share this for the encouragement of some friends who are flying low.

"But He [God] 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 weakness 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." (2 Cor. 12:9,10)

Isn't it true that we step out of our comfort zone when we feel weak and helpless? We have a feeling that our strength is leaking out. Today I can well imagine that you feel weakness because it seems that your life is spinning out of control. How could this be a good thing? There is something exciting and extraordinary to discover with the apostle Paul in that verse. God allows us to become weak on purpose! It is only because He loves us so much and wants to work through us that He actually may reduce our personal strength.

Apparently, only in my personal weakness can I experience God's strength. When I am strong and able to cope and in control, God's power is less evident in and through me. As my own strength decreases, HIS strength increases in me. It is like a see-saw: When I am UP, His power is DOWN; When I am DOWN--low on my own power--I can experience the LIFT of God's mighty power surge.

Your illness has doubtless left you low on natural and physical power. You don't seem to be firing on all cylinders no matter how hard you try to accelerate in your own strength or with boosters to your immune system. Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, there is no such thing as a "FIVE HOUR ENERGY BOOST" to drink from a little bottle! Far from being bad news, however, your weakness puts you in an ideal position for the Lord to pour His power into you and through you in witness to others who watch your response to your trials.  Paul learned this lesson precisely because God DIDN'T ANSWER his earnest, persistent, pleading prayers! It may not be the Lord's will to take away your present suffering, but to give you an opportunity to internalize God's answer to Paul as your very own: "My grace [God's grace] is sufficient for you."

God didn't use Paul in spite of his weakness, but because of it. With Martin Luther we can affirm, "Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing." I doubt that neither you nor I have enough of our own strength to confide in anyway, right? 

Our best position is to realistically recognize and accept our weakness, lean heavily on His strength, and yes, even "delight in our weakness" as Paul learned to do. Because Paul was naturally strong and able, for him to take joy in weakness was something that he had to learn--as do we. 

"...Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts..." is God's way of doing things. (Zechariah 4:6)

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