I was having a meaningful discussion recently with a very trusted friend, in which we were talking about sanctification. I was explaining to him the specific areas of weakness in my life that I was asking God to help me overcome. At one point during the conversation, my friend looked at me and asked a simple question, but one that was very difficult for me to answer. He said, “What if He never does?” I paused, because that question caught me off guard. “What if he there are some things that you never fully overcome? Would you be okay with that?”
I stumbled through a few words as I tried to verbalize what was on my heart. What finally came out was something along the lines of, “I don’t even want to answer that question, because I don’t want to believe that is going to happen.”
My friend very quickly responded, “Do you think Paul struggled with that?”
In case you are wondering why my friend asked this question, it is because of 2 Corinthians 12. In this chapter, Paul speaks about a thorn in his flesh that he pleaded for the Lord to remove from him. But the Lord did not remove the thorn. In fact, God did the opposite, He allowed it to remain. God said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul’s response to this in verse 10 is amazing when he says, “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (verse 9).
Can you imagine praying for God to make you weak? Can you imagine saying something like, “Lord, please allow me to remain helpless in this particular area so that your power, which is infinitely greater than mine, can be released.” Yet, that is what Paul is referring to here. When we are powerless, we have no choice but to depend on God. We have to have faith. That is when God’s grace is unleashed into our lives. In those times when we feel weak and powerless, God has full access to be powerful.
Obviously, the problem here is that most of us don’t like to feel weak or powerless. We like to feel strong and in control. I am not saying that God does not want us to have strength. Paul’s very prayer in 2 Corinthians 12 gives us an indication that God had already strengthened him in many other areas of his life. What I am saying, however, is that we don’t have to be frustrated about those areas where we still feel weak. In fact, we can do the exact opposite. We can do as Paul does in verse 10, when he says, “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.”
I, for one, can testify that some of the most amazing encounters with God I have ever had have come in moments of total weakness and submission, in the moments where I felt the most powerless. Today, if you are feeling powerless, then give God praise for it. This is an opportunity for you to exchange your limited power, for His unlimited power.
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!