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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
-2 Corinthians 12:9
“Hey, don’t be such a wimp!”
I can still hear my grandfather’s words today. Though he passed some years ago, I still remember playing in the backyard of his tiny home. One day I was playing with some rocks in the yard when I tripped and fell down, scratching my arm on the sharp gravel. Tears streaming down my face, I ran inside to show my grandfather. He simply wiped it up with a nearby napkin and said “Don’t be a wimp! Get over it!”
I eventually did get over the pain and embarrassment, but I can still remember feeling that if I didn’t act strong and put away my weakness I would never earn his love. While my grandfather was a great man, his view of strength is so different from the strength we see taught in the Bible!
The apostle Paul, himself knowing a life of pain and suffering, was the opposite of my grandfather’s macho-man mentality. Instead of boasting in the wisdom, strength, and power that came with being an apostle of Jesus, Paul says that he boasts in his weakness.
Why would you ever want to boast in your weakness?
The world of today is not that different from the world Paul lived in. The world sees strength and power as the key to success. According to our society, those who are weak or victimized will never get ahead.
Yet Paul teaches a different story when writing to the Corinthian church.
In telling his own story of conversion, Paul says that it was only when he was made weak that God was made strong in his life. Just like Jesus who took on the painful embarrassment of the cross, God’s victory over the evil of the world came through humble suffering.
Paul, writing to the believers in Corinth, reminded them that their lives were to be mirrors of his and Jesus. When we suffer for the name of Jesus, we should boldly declare that Jesus is better. The world is watching to see how Christians will respond to suffering and persecution.
Yet if a stone grave and death itself couldn’t keep Jesus down, how much more will we triumph in Him through our sufferings? In Jesus, we really do have something amazing to boast about!
Questions For Reflection on 2 Corinthians 12:9
#1 Paul knew that Jesus was teaching him about grace and mercy in the midst of his sufferings. How does God show His powerful love to you in the middle of your trials?
#2 The Corinthians knew that only the strong and powerful could seem to get ahead in their world. Yet Paul tells them to boast to the world about their weakness. How do you think your friends and family would respond if you did the same? How would it change the world?
Jesus, I thank you for Your generous love. As we read today, Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Help me to remember that truth when difficult moments and seasons come. Help me to tap into the power that is available for helping me navigate difficult times and seasons, especially when I am tempted to forget You in the middle of those struggles. May my boasting of my weakness show the world that You are truly the Lord of my life and more powerful than my fears or suffering!
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.