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But he told me: “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So I will brag even more about my weaknesses in order that Christ’s power will live in me. Therefore, I accept weakness, mistreatment, hardship, persecution, and difficulties suffered for Christ. It’s clear that when I’m weak, I’m strong.~ II Corinthians 12:9, 10 (GW)

READING: II Corinthians 12:1-10

This passage came up on my Bible reading schedule at a perfect time. It was during a prolonged fast when I had encountered challenges and was feeling like it just wasn’t fair – that God owed me special favor for fasting and praying.

The heroic church planter, Paul, could have felt the same way, and much more so. But the remarkable “visions and revelations” God gave Paul (v. 1) did not mean he never again had problems. In fact, challenges came (including a recurring “thorn in the flesh”) because he had such incredible revelations and, as he put it, God needed to “keep me from being conceited” (v. 7).

God would not take the difficulty away, despite Paul’s pleading, (v. 8). Instead, God told Paul that He was strongest when Paul was weakest, and verse nine says Paul therefore “bragged” about his weaknesses!

Verse 10 reveals that because of this truth, he rejoiced in weakness, challenges, persecution, mistreatment, hardship, etc. Church planting leaders experience the same problems today. We, too, can rejoice because “when I’m weak, I’m strong.” God is strongest when we are weak.

We oftentimes think that weakness means Ichabod (the glory has departed). But, instead: Weaknesses = strength in the Lord. Hallelujah!

Lord, Please help me remember that problems are not the enemy, but instead they are friends which can help me lean upon you and become strong. Amen.

Mark Alan Williams