But he 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 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.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
I clung to this verse as a teenager. It brought me comfort knowing that I did not have to do life alone. Now, as an adult, it is so much more. Now I understand the full context of this passage. Paul pleaded three times (maybe more depending on the Hebrew translation) with the Lord to take a physical ailment away, and each time the Lord said no, MY grace is sufficient for you. It was something there to remind Paul that what he was doing was only through the power of Jesus. Blueletterbible.org says this,
Paul's thorn came by way of a messenger of Satan in order to torment him. Yet at the same time it was given to him in order that he would not become conceited. The present paradox can be compared to that of the story of Job. Satan was permitted to afflict God's servant, yet only within the parameters set by God (Job 2). Paul also wrote about handing an immoral brother to Satan so that his flesh may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord (1 Cor 5:5). Satan is used at times as an instrument to bolster the faith or prove the righteousness of believers.
The lesson here for us is this, all things and all situations can be used to the glory of the Lord. Even situations that bring us pain and irritation, Jesus can receive glory from it. Bolster means to strengthen. Times when are hearts are broken are times when our faith can be strengthened because it is then that we realize how weak we are in comparison to an All Mighty God and just how much we need Him. And I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful for that. I am thankful for my weaknesses because they are a reminder that I can to walk step in step with Jesus if I choose and one day will forever worship him for eternity.
I am tender at heart. I need things to be explicit. I do not do well with the unknown. And it is today, when I realized just how many times, when it comes to my feelings, I use the word “I”.
I am inadequate, but HE, HE is powerful. The feelings swirling around in my stomach and mind and heart today, so deeply wanted to cling to the world for comfort. It was as if I needed to pull an Andy Bernard and just punch a hole through a wall… but that wouldn’t bring me closer to Jesus. I need to feel and then press into Jesus in order to heal. We are not perfect, and are not called to be because if we were then we would be the ones who could boast. There are days when I feel: worthless, unneeded therefore unloved, confused, and pushed aside and I need to remember to thank Jesus for the reminder of just how weak I am and just how much I need Him.
If you are going through a bump or two in the road, I would challenge to look to see who God is during this time. This is who He has been for me:
Accessible- When I felt like I was not being heard, or listened to, I could go to the Father. I could look to Him for affirmation and love because He is always there. Even when others are not, he is approachable. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. Ephesians 2:18 NLT
Faithful- He has always been with me in a valley and brought me out. He is a loyal loving God who will fight for me if I choose to walk in His statutes. “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…” Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV
Good- In my mistakes, he has always show me to still be good. He has allowed me to seek His refuge. “O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.” Psalm 86:5 NLT
Guide- He has been my guide. He is who has directed my steps, and if I allow Him, my heart. “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.” Psalm 73:24 ESV
As I was looking at my attributes list, which I have linked for you here, I felt like I couldn’t choose just one and narrowing it down to four was hard because God is all of who he is all the time. He is trustworthy, he is never changing, he is constant. We can take comfort in knowing that there is never gray with the Lord. He was the same today and yesterday and will be tomorrow. He is all we need all the time if we just choose to look to Him.
I have a hard time being confident in things sometimes. I am out going, but can be incredibly insecure. Thank you, Jesus, for showing me how much more I need you in these things. Thank you, Lord, for your divine power. Thank you, Lord, for my weaknesses, because they truly do break me so that I need you that much more.