God’s Strength is Different From Human Strength
This past year (2014) was a milestone birthday year for me. Take a look at my picture and guess which one it was. If you’re off by more than 10 years either you need new glasses or my graphics guy did a good (or bad?) job of touching up my photo! What’s interesting is I’m in the best shape of my life. When I was in my 20’s I didn’t work at being healthy or watching what I ate. Now I consistently work out and follow a healthy diet. It seems counter-intuitive that someone my age would say I’m the healthiest and strongest I’ve ever been, but it’s true.
Here is something else that’s counter-intuitive, finding strength when we’re weak. Some people go through life who seem unflappable. They’re the picture of mental and physical strength and stability. But that isn’t most of us. Most of us struggle and scrape along and sometimes wonder where we will get the strength to press on.
We aren’t alone in feeling that way. The Apostle Paul, a giant of the faith, felt like that at times. In 2 Corinthians 12 we’re told he had an affliction. It bugged him so much he asked the Lord to take it away. Three times! 2 Corinthians 12:8 says
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.
Jesus told him “No.”
It wasn’t a “Hmm, maybe” or a “Let’s wait a while” it was a flat out “Nope, not going to happen.”
God doesn’t always take all our problems away. Here’s one reason why. Paul, like many of us, had a tendency to get conceited about things. In the previous verse 2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul said,
So to keep me from becoming conceited . . .a thorn was given me in the flesh
Jesus allowed an affliction so Paul wouldn’t get overconfident. Then He didn’t take it away to keep him dependent upon God. Here’s what Jesus said 2 Corinthians 12:9,
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
From Paul’s situation we can learn . . .
3 Keys to Being Strong When We’re Weak
- Acknowledge Jesus’ control. Whatever you need today turn to Jesus as the first step to finding what you need.
- Understand Jesus’ grace. His kindness and favor can lift you out of despair. When you feel loved and cared for you can endure great hardship.
- Rest in Jesus’ power. He wants to do great things through us, not for us to do great thing for him. If you’re so weak you can’t take a step, when you do take a step you’ll know it’s Jesus. At our best we’re never strong compared to Jesus.
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Paul then said, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” 2 Corinthians 12:10.
No one want to be weak. Give Jesus a chance to give you strength!
I’d love to hear how God has helped you through a hard time. Post a comment or question below.