Power in Weakness

“…Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for [my] power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 (NRSV) [1]


A friend of mine, highly gifted and compassionate, recently shared with me how he struggles with an “underdog” mentality.


It’s interesting how my observation of this gentleman views him as competent, skilled, talented, insightful, engaging; someone people gravitate toward. I see him differently than he sees himself. His story caused me to think.


As many years as I’ve been in ministry, as often as I speak and write, it’s common for me to believe others are more qualified and capable than me. “Certainly, there are others who are more knowledgeable about this subject; more skilled as a speaker; more trained as a writer; more… more… more!”


I’m very familiar with my internal self-deprecatory voice. It has shouted at me for years – attempting to amplify my “false” identity and drown out my “true” uniqueness.


We’re prone to want to “overcome” our sense of unworthiness. We want others to see us as knowledgeable, fit, and worthy. However, in our attempt to destroy those internal barriers, it’s common to try to emulate others whom we see as successful. And when we do, we fail to honor our God-given uniqueness.


You – and your story – are an irreplaceable blessing to others. You bring a unique perspective and experiences that are as valuable as others.


The Apostle Paul was a powerful and influential figure; instrumental in introducing the Gentile world to the claims of Christ. However, he also struggled with a sense of weakness.


Some theologians would like to argue that his “thorn in the flesh” was a physical ailment (and it may have been). However, regardless of his limitation (physical or emotional), the point is:


Despite his affliction – for which he prayed three times for God to remove – Paul discovers that embracing his weakness gives him power.


While it is vital that we find ways to silence our internal critic, there is also a sense of power we gain when we embrace our weakness.


For me, accepting my feeling of inadequacy rather than fighting it, encourages appropriate humility and trust that God can – and does – work with flawed humanity. And that, my friend, is liberating and miraculous!



[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), 2 Co 12:7–10.

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