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.
Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. During those times I recite my liabilities, weaknesses, sins, and station in life to God.
1. I am a woman. And I love being a woman. I love my husband and daughter and all the goodness that comes from those who surround me. But because I am a woman, people are less inclined to value what I say or write about you (God). People have said, "I am not going to listen to what a woman has to say about God." When a woman speaks the word of God she has less credibility for some reason. It is well-known that people don't read women authors nearly as much nor do they pick up their books nearly as much--especially when like me they are speaking of spiritual formation--of being disciples of Jesus. It's mostly women who read women or listen to women. But women, they pick up both men and women authors and listen to women (although not women pastors so much). So I tell God sometimes, "I am a woman but you gave me the spiritual gifts of men." Well, that's not what I really believe but people in Christian culture label my gifts as male gifts. Maybe I wouldn't have so many problems if I were one of Philip the Evangelist's four daughters. But you oh Lord have given me evangelist/preacher/writer gifts in this century and Philip is not my father.
2. I grew up poor and am poor compared to those in my environment (but I am rich compared to many in the world and U.S.). I am not sure that they know it though. I didn't/don't have the advantages they do. My desire to learn, love of words, education, and surroundings have made me adept at the middle class register.
3. I could write more about severe mental illness and poverty in my family...but I don't think that would be fair to them at this time.
Now I am already tired of reciting my weaknesses or handicaps or social status because of my situation in life. It sounds like I am whining. But I only share this to show what I every now and then recount to the Lord.
But then he gently reminds me that indeed, he made no mistake with my station in life nor my gender. He reminds me that even before the world began he had good works for me to do, works that would make him glad and bring him honor (Ephesians 2:10). He reminds me of how over and over he has been faithful to me. And the other night when I was reciting #1 and some others to him, he reminded me that his strength is made perfect in weakness.
So now I am reveling in II Corinthians 12:9. I am very interested in seeing how he reveals his strength through what many in the world deem to be social handicaps or liabilities. I think I have an inkling into some of it. I often feel super needy of him and of his grace because I don't have all those material and status and familial securities to cling to. Would I love him so if I were in a different station in life? Would I love him less if he didn't parent me? I hope that I would. But maybe I wouldn't.
My intent for this post wasn't to whine. It was really just to share why I am currently reveling in II Corithians 12:9. I want to contemplate it, digest it, and see what nourishment comes from it. Maybe Christ's power will rest on me if I truly see them as gifts instead of curses.
But the thing about Christ's power is that he doesn't always allow us to have full glimpses of the power that is resting on us and flowing through us. Otherwise we might become arrogant or even proud like Satan. There is no grace in pride.
Are you weak too? Maybe for different reasons? God promises to give grace to the humble and to never turn away those who call him. Maybe together we'll discover just how present and powerful and good God is as we meditate on his word and allow him to be our strength.
I liked the Message Version of this passage too.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (The Message):
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.