How many times have I prayed for strength. And how many times have I heard others request the same thing. Weakness is not something that we find desirable in our society. It leaves me at the mercy of other people and dependent on their willingness to help. Strength, on the other hand, gives me power and independence; the stronger I am, the less I am at the mercy of others. Strength is good and weakness is bad. At least that is the way it is commonly viewed.
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. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
Paul seems to have had the same view on strength and weakness. Repeatedly he had prayed to God to remove some affliction that was getting in the way. And ultimately God responded to him with the above passage; a passage that is so contrary to our normal way of looking at things that I have a tendency to nod my head in assent, and then pray for the strength to do it.
Now it does take strength to allow this passage to describe your own experience. But not my own personal strength, which is what I would likely pray for. Instead, I need to be weak and helpless, staying out of his way as he works through me. And when I will do that, then his power will operate in my life. Paul ultimately was able to affirm, “when I am weak, then I am strong.”
It is the surrendered life, rather than the talented or powerful life, that God finds most useful. He is not so much interested in what I can do for him, as what he can do through me. Will you let his power be made perfect in your weakness? Will you get out of his way and let him work in and through you?