Abounding in Weakness to Glorify God
Rev. Dr. Philip Yohannan
St. Simons Episcopal Church Staten Island, New York
Christ CSI Church Danbury, Connecticut
But, I will not boast myself except about my weaknesses. ( 2 Corinthians 12: 5 b )
What kind of person are we? Are we over communicative? Are we bossy or critical? Do we brag about our accomplishments and achievements?
In the life of St. Paul we see a contrast with the world view ; and that contrast is that St. Paul is reminding the Church at Corinth that his weakness has made him to be strong to boast about himself for the cause of Christ. St. Paul is again stating that weakness is good because that is what makes our life powerful. Weakness is good because the soul seeks the mercy and grace of God.
In 2 Corinthians 11 we can see a list of suffering St. Paul faced in his life.
“ Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and day in the open sea, I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from gentiles, in danger in the city , in danger in the country , in danger at sea and in danger from false brothers. Beside everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all churches”. In the midst of all these struggle St. Paul is praying to the Lord .
Was St. Paul satisfied with the prayer that Christ’s power may rest on him all the times? St.Paul longed for relief from the thorn that it may be removed from his life completely. As Paul has prayed to the Lord, we always pray for the removal of our own personal and family thorns which are caught up in our lives through different forms and styles. God is not removing those thorns in St. Paul’s life but adding more grace to cover his weak body to sustain him for the propagation of the Gospel.
When we are going through trials and suffering spend extra time in the presence of the Lord. Sickness and suffering are tools and means God uses for building Godly character. God used Paul’s painful situation to mold his life for the service of the Lord.
The shiny and molded tiny rocks in the river side we may pick up for decorating our homes, those rocks went through so much of stress and pressure in heavy seasons of rain and snow. The same way God uses the waves and billows of painful experiences in our life to polish us for making us well rounded, attractive and gracious persons for the blessings of the world. God is always looking for ordinary people to do extraordinary work. Our Lord Jesus Christ used shepherds, fishermen and tax collectors for fulfilling the commission of His work even though they are uneducated and rejected by the community.
God did not give an answer to St. Paul’s weakness or a cure but the Lord gave him a promise” My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. (2 Cor 12:9) We do not live in explanation or statements but we live on God’s promises. Our thoughts and behavior change but God’s divine promises never change.
Finally this morning, let us stop complaining about our limitations but let us remember we are empowered by the Holy Spirit for an opportunity for God’s channel of blessings.God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (1 Cor 1: 27-28 ). As St. Paul faced all these challenges in his mission , let us also ask our Lord to give grace to overcome all our struggles for the glory of God.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work or watch, or weep this day. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, sooth the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous and all for Your love’s sake. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
“ Fight all your battle with prayer on your knees all the times and do small things in a great way”.