Many of you are familiar with what happens next as Paul describes how he pleads with God to remove this “thorn in his flesh” and then we hear that oft quoted verse, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Paul echoes that sentiment in the next verse where we read, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? It sounds virtually impossible for us to find strength in the midst of weakness, to find courage in the midst of fear. But that is what Paul is saying. Paul is trying to help us understand that it is extremely difficult to live this life out of our own strength and that if we are left to our own devices, our own ego that will not be sufficient. God has told us, called us, even encourages us to live through him, to rely on him, and to be vessels by which the Holy Spirit engages this world.
When we can allow God to take control, when we can turn all that we are and all that we have, spiritually and materially, over to God, God can and will do amazing things! Paul is encouraging us to stop living for ourselves and to live for God. He is telling us that better things await us, if we can live in our weakness rely on God’s strength for our lives.
I understand that this idea can easily fall into the “easier said than done” category. After all it is difficult to let go of ourselves, our desires, and egos. But when we can let God have control, complete and utter control, then we can witness the power of the Holy Spirit at work.
This Lenten season, may you find that reassurance to live into your weakness. May you find the power of the Holy Spirit as you exult others over yourself, put the needs of others before your own, seek to live humbly while giving what you can to others. May you be that vessel God uses to break down walls, change lives, and build his Kingdom here on earth. May you know the joy of living a life with God and for God as you share that joy with others, this day and every day!
Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!