Life is hard. But our hardships can lead us to recognize God’s strength in our weakness.
Maybe you’re going through a rough patch. Or maybe you’re dealing with an ongoing physical or mental disability. Personally, I struggle with autism, which makes sensory processing difficult. It can cause me to feel anxious, overwhelmed, or distracted. Even by small things. Sometimes, everything feels hard to handle.
When we’re struggling, we might find ourselves asking, “Why must I put up with this? Why doesn’t God fix things and make it easier?” In our struggle, let’s remember that God often uses our weakness to display His strength.
It’s not about us. It’s about Him.
Power in Weakness
The apostle Paul, the world’s most famous evangelist, writes in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 that “a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.” Not once, but THREE times Paul prayed that God would remove this hindrance. God didn’t.
Instead, God replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”
God didn’t allow Paul to be afflicted out of spite. Rather, He needed Paul to remain humble, reliant on His power. We can compare this to a father disciplining his child, a theme the Bible uses often. God knows that we can be spiritually ignorant; sometimes we need a reminder of where to place our focus and draw our strength.
When we become prideful, it’s easy to make poor decisions, take credit, and grow selfish. God wants us to rely on His wisdom and His authority. Human thinking can often get shaky, but God remains our solid foundation (1 Corinthians 1:20). Paul’s life demonstrates God’s transformative power.
Strength in Surrender
I don’t know about you, but I found the mentality of “power in weakness” confusing to grasp at first. Why would God want to use weakness to showcase His might? Why not just start by using someone qualified and strong?
Again, it’s not about us, it’s about Him.
When we see someone strong and muscular lift a really heavy weight, are we surprised by his or her ability? Not really; we expect feats of strength from those with bulging muscles. But when we see a fearful person (Gideon) lead a 300-person army to victory, a shepherd (David) become king, or a pariah (Moses) return from exile to free God’s people, we’re astounded at what the fearful, the insignificant, and the outcast can do through God’s power.
This is how God works: He shows us that it’s not our appearance, ability, or status that matters, but our faith in His power. We all can overcome and accomplish mighty feats when we surrender to God instead of relying on self.
That’s why Paul writes that he boasts not in himself, but in what God has accomplished through him. If God appeared to you in a vision, like He did Paul, leaving you blind until He sent someone to lay hands on you to restore your sight, you’d fully recognize God’s power, too.
This encounter helps us to understand Paul’s words when he writes, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
God provides our opportunities, our needed abilities, and the experiences we need to get us there. Take this article, for example: Without God placing me in the right spot, at the right time, with the right support system, I likely wouldn’t be writing this, my third guest post for the Josh McDowell Ministry. God gets the glory for this blessing.
We all struggle with things that might make us feel weak or make life feel difficult. But God wants us to trust Him, so that we can endure and overcome. He wants to show us what He can accomplish through us. Because it’s not about us. It’s about Him.
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