A very good morning my precious friends

2 Corinthians 12:9 says “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.”

Power and weakness are contradictory terms. However, Paul, in writing in 2 Corinthians, highlights a profound truth about how our weaknesses can turn into power.

Paul had a "thorn" about which he routinely wrote. And he continually asked God to take this "thorn" away, but in this passage we hear that God responded, "No".

Like any good parent, God does not just say no, but rather He provides His perfect reason. Ultimately we learn that God knows He is glorified in the strength that He gives Paul in continually resisting this "thorn".

I don't know about you, but I do not like to be weak in ANY situation. Whether it is physical strength or emotional strength, I want to believe I can handle just about everything as I feel that I am a “very young 55-year-old”. These last few days have been hectic as I developed a chest infection and my whole body is full of aches and pain. I feel like an 90-year-old man.

There is always someone out there who can bench press more than I can, or who can do more pull-ups. (like Josh Correia). We also continually hear of persons faced with unthinkably painful situations in their lives (children with cancer, divorce, death) that cause me to wonder if I could even survive their circumstances if they were my own.

And that is where the strength of this verse comes in. God is directly telling Paul (and you and me) that His grace covers ALL of our weaknesses. If we have those weaknesses, they need not be things to shame us. Rather, because He is glorified through our weaknesses by 1) giving us supernatural strength and 2) highlighting His power and grace in covering them, we can be free to be authentic to the world around us.

We serve a God whose grace is totally sufficient for us. It’s only in living by His grace that we are made strong. Our heavenly Father says, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” In Christ we can boast in our need; for our need is our greatest asset. Christ demonstrated through His ministry that He works powerfully when people simply acknowledge their need of Him. From the woman desperate to touch His garment, to Zacchaeus the tax collector, to the paralyzed man lowered through the ceiling– God works incredible miracles in the lives of those who come before Him with all their brokenness and need. His power is made perfect in those who simply cry out to Him in desperation.

In contrast, many in Scripture who come before God thinking they have it all, and therefore receive nothing from Him. The rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-27 who came to Jesus asking for His help but was unwilling to trade worldly success for eternal relationship. In response to the young man’s unwillingness Jesus (Mark 10:23) says, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”. Jesus is making a statement about anyone who feels satisfied in themselves and the world apart from God. You can be poor and still receive nothing from God because you live pridefully without acknowledging your need. One of our greatest gifts is weakness because in acknowledging our weakness we make space for God to move and work. Those who are satisfied with worldly success, pleasure and possession make little room for the incredible wealth of love, peace, passion and joy God longs to give those who simply acknowledge their need of Him.

Life is not about us possessing a little or much. It’s about the attitude of our heart towards God. The abundant life God longs to give you will only be received in areas where you acknowledge your weakness and need. The thief hanging on the cross, who acknowledged his own sin, received the gift of eternal life, not the pious and successful high priest who, in his pride, fought to crucify the very Saviour he had been asking to come.

We serve a God who turns our greatest weakness into our greatest strength. In His grace, all He asks of us is to have a heart open, willing and receptive to Him. Our God is one who comes down to us and lays down His life that we might live through Him. He’s the King of kings who washes the feet of the very men who would betray Him. He’s the God of compassion who heals the sick and spends time with the sinners rather than the devout.

What is our first and initial response to a painful experience?

It is what it should be: prayer.

As the lyrics to the song goes: What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear, what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.

Prayer does not always mean that we will automatically escape the pain or sorrow.

Jesus while in the garden was in great agony as He prayed that the cup might pass from Him. However, He added, "Not My will but Thine be done." He then drank the cup.

We all have weaknesses that we wish we did not have. Remember that God's mercy has all of them covered should bring you peace and hope.

Let us pray:

Lord Jesus help us to be like Paul who learned to delight in his troubles and weaknesses because they brought the blessings of God to rest upon his life. We thank You that You are our God who protects us by Your power. Thank You that we can bring everything to You in prayer. We love You Lord. Amen.

Much love from Maurice and Margaret.