In Weakness, Made Strong

The life of the apostle Paul is a pretty amazing - for us “normal” Christians I think it is easy to look at his life - his boldness in proclaiming the gospel, the trials and sufferings he endured in the process, and the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through him - and wish we could be more like him. No doubt it would probably be a good thing if we could be more like him!

The Bible makes it clear our goal and ambition is to be like Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith. It also reveals that Paul - once Saul - was a redeemed sinner, just like us, who had shortcomings, failings, and weaknesses. Like us, he at times wasn’t too fond of those weaknesses. In fact, we know from 2 Corinthians that he begged God to take them away.

How did God respond? “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Because of this, Paul was able to say the following:

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, 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.

One of my “heroes of the faith,” Joni Eareckson Tada, has lived for 50 years with paralysis and has seen first-hand how God can turn weakness into strength and our shortcomings into his triumphs. In her devotional “In Weakness, Made Strong” Joni shares the story of Doug Nichols, a missionary to India who in 1967 became ill and had to spend several months in a depressing tuberculosis sanitarium. One night Doug, even though weak himself and barely able to stand, helped carry another man to the restroom. This one act of kindness opened the doors for Doug to share the good news of Jesus with the patients and staff, several of whom became believers because of Doug’s authentic witness - his actions matched his words, all made possible because of his weakness!

Feeling weak today? Take courage fellow brother or sister in Christ - God can turn your weakness into strength and who knows, it might even open doors to share the love of Jesus with someone!