The Gift of Weakness

by James Metsger

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 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 12:8-10 ESV)

 Wanted: Weaklings

I can’t imagine that slogan ever made it past Round 1 of the cutting room floor for potential Army slogans. “There’s strong and then there’s Army strong” sounds better than “Attention: pansies, mama’s boys, potential cry babies, and weak-willed wannabes–we need you!” It’s strength that inspires, motivates, and moves men and women to do great things for those they love.

But then there’s Paul. Paul said, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses.”

Paul embraced his limitations. Admittedly he wasn’t excited about it out of the gate. He pleaded (begged!) with the Lord that his limitations leave him. Who wouldn’t want freedom from frailty? But Paul’s response to his weakness (many speculate what it was but we don’t know for sure) was strange in an other-worldly sort of way. “I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses.” Boast in weakness? Don’t pull that line out at a job interview. Can you imagine that conversation? “You want me to talk about my strengths? What do I bring to the table? Actually, if I may, I’d like to focus more on my many shortcomings and weaknesses.” Yikes! You pull that one and you’ll quickly hear, “Thanks for coming. Don’t call us. We’ll call you.”
The invitation to life with God is mailed out to the weak and needy, not the strong and self-sufficient. No physical training test is required. Not only are weaklings welcome, but weakness is required. Weakness is in fact a gift. It’s a gift because when we embrace our weaknesses, our limitations, and our frailness we learn to lean heavy on a God who is strong and limitless. Today thank God for your weaknesses and for his great strength.