2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
This passage is well known, but I think very few people actually live it out. We are so in love with the idea of being strong, of being able to do things by ourselves. Paul wasn’t a believer at the time and didn’t hear it, but just before His crucifixion Jesus said plainly, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) We don’t like that! Paul had to be put through something of a wringer to get it through his head, and I don’t think we’re any better. We have such trouble grasping the infinite, perfect, power and wisdom of God. However, the better we do grasp it, the more we are able to allow that power and wisdom to flow through us, instead of getting in the way. We tend to set conditions, to try to bargain with God, but that is absurd on the face of it. We need to say, “OK God, You do Your will in and through me, and I’ll do my best to tag along and not get in the way.” That’s the attitude Paul was talking about when he said he would “boast of his weaknesses.” There have been many “broken vessels” throughout Church history who have been mightily used by God, but there have actually been many more who had to be broken because of their pride and never really recovered. That is tragic. We need to strive to grasp this truth before we bring tragedy on ourselves and those around us.
This hits very close to home because of how I have struggled with pride over the years. I am frequently reminded of how many years it took to really grasp that it’s not that God’s smarter than I am, it’s that God’s smart and I’m not. The suite of abilities He’s given me are his, not mine, and trying to use them on my own never ends well. As a pastor, I am currently dealing with someone who has run full tilt into their own weakness, and can’t seem to get over it. They still haven’t grasped that God wants to use their weakness as a channel of His power to bless many. My own wife is a marvel to many for all that she does, but right now she is actually looking forward to her second back surgery (that just got scheduled) in the hope that it will eliminate her current severe pain. I don’t think she was proud as such, but she has always been an “over-performer,” usually on behalf of others, and now she is having to let others do for her. It’s not something she takes to easily! In both of those cases I’ve got to remember that I’m not “Mr. Fix-it,” as I would like to be, but that God is capable of using even me if I will be yielded to Him. God’s grace is indeed sufficient for us all!
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You that we were able to get the surgery scheduled yesterday. I ask Your special grace for Cathy in the two weeks until it takes place. We have a busy schedule through the end of this month. I pray for wisdom and peace for us both, in dealing with her situation and in dealing with all the other situations around us as well, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!