2Cor. 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is fulfilled in weakness.” Therefore I will most gladly boast in my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Paul learned about the power of God being displayed through weakness the hard way. Actually the hard way is the only way. He experienced the proverbial “thorn in the flesh”. What was the thorn in the flesh? It was actually the persecution that followed Paul wherever he went. It started in Damascus shortly after his conversion and went throughout his entire ministry ending with his martyrdom in Rome. He faced being beat with rods, whipped with a Roman scourge, stocks and bonds in prison, he was even stoned once and left for dead. As the beatings continued the power increased. The power of God and the revelation given to Paul by the Spirit were proportionally related to the persecution Paul faced. The Lord’s power is revealed in weakness. Here are some comments by Andrew Murray on the connection of human weakness and God’s power.
“Paul was in danger of being exalted, owing to the revelations from Heaven, and Jesus sent him a thorn in the flesh—yes, Jesus sent it—a messenger of Satan—to buffet him. Paul prayed, and struggled, and wanted to get rid of it. And Jesus came to him, and said, “It is my doing that you may not be free from that. You need it. I will bless you wonderfully in it.” Paul’s life was changed from that moment in this one respect, and he said, “I never knew it so before, from henceforth I glory in my infirmities; for “when I am weak, then am I strong.” Do you indeed desire God to be all in all? Learn to glory in your weakness. Take time to say every day as you bow before God, “The almighty power of God that works in the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the flowers, is working in me. It is as sure as that I live. The almighty power of God is working in me. I only need to get down, and be quiet; I need to be more submissive, and surrendered to His will; I need to be more trustful, and to allow God to do with me what He will.”
As a Christian I have learned to role with the punches. Sometimes in betrayal or false accusation, other times in calamities like Katrina. Life can be painful and committed Christians are not immune to the struggles that fill this life. How are we different from the lost? Our struggles increase our faith, drive us to a new level of intimacy with God, and create a hunger in us for God’s word. The results of all this is that the power and anointing of the Spirit increase in us. So what shall we do? “I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 COR. 12:10 NLT