The Liberating Paradox of Weakness

“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 12:9-10

Heavenly Father, as I meditate on these words of Paul, I vacillate between feelings of relief and sadness. As a young believer, I wasn’t taught to delight in weaknesses, but to be ashamed of them and get over them. And I kind of liked it that way.

It was all about “the victorious Christian life.” Overcoming and not underachieving, being more than conquerors and never less than happy, were the order of the day. It was a perfect spirituality for type-A personalities on steroids. I didn’t think in terms of sufficient grace, I wanted replacement grace—getting rid of anything unpleasant in my life.

Thank you, Father, for rescuing me from this and other misrepresentations of life in Christ. Thank you for the godly men and women you’ve brought into my life over the years—humble and courageous servants of Jesus who’ve helped me boast in Christ and in my weaknesses. The aroma of grace is released best through the broken places in our lives and stories.

As you continue to humble and gentle my heart, increase my compassion toward others in their weaknesses and brokenness. Forgive my irritation, impatience, and avoidance of people whose weakness exposes my selfishness. As the gospel and your Spirit continue to work in my life, may “bruised reeds and smoldering wicks” feel comfortable in my presence (Matt. 12:15-21).

Indeed, what a wonderful, merciful Savior, Jesus is. Because he embraced the weakness of the cross we can gladly boast in the weaknesses in our lives. What a most profound, liberating, and hope-filled paradox. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ holy and loving name.