July 20

July 20
by Jonna Bohigian

“God’s Power Is Made Perfect in Weakness”

Read: 2 Corinthians 12:1 – 10

The Apostle Paul was a remarkable man. We first hear of him in the book of Acts, as a persecutor of the church. He was feared because he had a great deal of influence. But Jesus stopped him in his tracks and changed the trajectory of his life forever – from primary persecutor to ultimate servant and father of our faith.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, he writes about a thorn that was given to him, a “thorn in [his] flesh, a messenger of Satan” (12:7b). He doesn’t elaborate on what this thorn in his flesh might have been, whether it was physical or something else. Many scholars have wondered if his thorn was poor eyesight. 

Whatever it may have been, Paul writes that the thorn was given to him to “keep [him] from becoming conceited” (12:7a). He pleaded three times with Jesus, that it might be taken from him. But the response he received was, “’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore [Paul boasted] all the more gladly about [his] weaknesses, so that Christ’s power [might] rest on [him]” (12:9).

What a challenging passage! It is terribly difficult to delight in our weaknesses! Weakness is not what our culture values, and it is frankly not what I like seeing in myself. I wish my weaknesses would just go away!

Alek and I have conversations about weakness a lot. His common refrain is: What kind of leader was Jesus? He was a servant leader; he served in weakness. And that was exactly what God wanted him to be and to do. Serving in weakness is exactly how He wants us to be, too. 

And in Paul’s words, God’s power is made perfect in weakness. If we continue to flex our muscles, God’s power won’t be able to be shown through us. It is only through weakness, that the power of God is made fully manifest.

During this season, we are all reminded of how weak we really are. We don’t have all the answers and we can’t make everyone happy. But if we can admit and boast in our weakness, Christ’s power may more fully be demonstrated through us.

A blessing: May we boast all the more gladly in our weaknesses, so that Christ’s power might rest on us and be fully manifest in us! Amen.

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