Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Strength in Weakness
“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.” (8, 9)
Years ago, at a conference, a panel was discussing what makes Christianity different from all the other religions in the world. Some of the participants argued that Christianity is unique in teaching that God became man. But someone objected, saying that other religions teach similar doctrines. What about the resurrection? No, it was argued, other faiths believe that the dead rise again. The discussion grew heated. C. S. Lewis, a strong defender of Christianity, came in late, sat down, and asked, “What’s the rumpus about?” When he learned that it was a debate about the uniqueness of Christianity, he immediately commented, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”
It is grace below us, above us, before us, behind us and beside us. It is grace in which we stand. Grace refers to that which God has given to us in Christ not because we earned it or deserved it, but because He willed to give it. In this passage it says that Paul experienced a thorn in the flesh. Paul’s thorn was not an actual piece of wood stuck in his body but represented a problem or a disease he was struggling with but this weakness made him strong. His weaknesses did not destroy him. A little girl placed a cocoon that she found in a jar, expecting to see a butterfly emerge. One day, she saw the butterfly within the cocoon trying to get out. It was struggling and trying to push its way out of the tight opening. In an effort to help the poor insect, she very carefully slit open the cocoon. After that, the butterfly was able to easily exit the cocoon. But, a strange thing happened. Instead of spreading two beautiful wings, the butterfly had two withered, shriveled, useless, ugly wings hanging by its side. Why? God designed the butterfly and its cocoon so that the tight opening would straighten and strengthen its wings. God has a purpose even in our weaknesses.
The weaknesses of life keep us Humble: Because of all the blessings Paul had been given, and because of all the mighty ways in which God had used him, there was the danger that Paul might try to take all the glory for himself. Therefore, God gave Paul this thorn to remind Paul that this was about God and not about Paul. In other words, it was sent to keep Paul humble.
The weakness of life helps us to deepen our faith: Notice that Paul’s trials drove him to his knees. Often, when the path of life is easy, we forget how much we need the Lord. We get slack in our devotional lives and we tend to become a little too self-sufficient. But, when trouble comes knocking, when we are pierced by one of the thorns of life, we are shocked back to reality once again. It is true, difficulty will drive us to our knees.
Each day as we go about our lives, let us acknowledge that we can't do it, but God can. Let’s put our dependence completely on God for his grace, strength and wisdom.
Prayer: Lord, We thank you, for the gift of grace and humility that come to us through our struggles. Thank you for those things in my life that keep me weak and dependent on you. Amen
Thought for the day: Grace abounds in our weakness
Chris Thomas, St John’s MTC, NY