"To keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the LORD about this, that it should leave me. 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 12:7-10)
There was a young man in his early twenties. He was in great shape. He ran marathons and triathlons. He traveled through Europe mostly on foot. He was going to graduate from college with a physical education degree, and he was going to get married later that year. He was working construction for the summer, and he fell twenty feet from a roof. They had to amputate both of his legs at the knees. He wanted to kill himself, and that’s why they called me.
You want a challenge? Try living the rest of your life without legs. Nothing, NOTHING takes more strength than being weak. Nothing takes more strength than asking for help, than not being who you once were, than letting someone help you use the bathroom, change your sheets, bathe you, feed you, clothe you, clean up after you. We want to be rescued from our weaknesses. We hate them. We hate ourselves for having them. We work hard to get rid of them. We don’t want to live the rest of our lives in a wheelchair. We don't want to live the rest of our lives in pain, unable to work, unable to have children. We don’t want anyone to help us use the bathroom or bathe us. We don’t want to feel ill; we don’t want to die; we don’t want to miss our loved ones who have died.
We aren't strong enough to be weak.
But one man was. Jesus had the means to save Himself from death. He is the Son of God, after all. He could've smote the whole lot of soldiers and Pharisees alike who wanted Him dead with a single word. He could have called for an army of angels to rescue Him from His cruel fate with ferocity. He could have lifted Himself from that cross at any moment and not died. But He did die. The greatest act of strength in the world was also the greatest act of weakness.
Jesus has perfect courage. He didn't give into any of the selfish qualities we have that would tempt us to avoid His same fate. His love is perfect. That's why He didn't back down from the cup that was given to Him: YOU are why. He loves you so much, so perfectly, so completely that He willingly endured unbelievable suffering to the point of being forsaken by His Father so that you would never be forsaken.
Because He was strong enough to be weak for you, you are strong enough to be weak for Him. Forget the world where "strong" means that you can lift 50lbs or run a mile, and live in His world where strength is living with your weakness, really living. Life is hard, but you cannot fail no matter how bad it gets. He’s won the war for you. God’s grace is sufficient. Jesus’ love is perfect.
Suggest verse to repeat to yourself if it's a difficult day is from 2 Corinthians 12:9b
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
“Power is made perfect -------> inhale 5 counts
in weakness.” -------> exhale 5 counts