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 12:9–10, ESV).
How do people do it? How do they withstand the hurricane-like blows that pummel their lives? The wind, the waves, the surges of heartbreak, crashing one after another, unrelenting in their destruction. How do these people survive . . . and still lift their faces to the Lord? How can they be so strong when they are at their weakest?
I know the answer. I know it because I’ve lived it. Over the course of my life, some violent storms have hit me. But somewhere in the middle of each storm, God’s voice reminds me that He provides sufficient grace for this trial. And when I am weak, He is always very strong. “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Note that connection between my weakness and Christ’s power. “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.” It’s the hard times and the unhealthy times and the hurting times that reveal my weaknesses. And it’s also during those times that God shows up strong.
We often treat suffering like a game of dodgeball. When anything hard comes at us, we jump out of the way. We duck, dive, and hide. We spend our whole lives trying to avoid anything painful or hard. But there’s a better kind of life—a deeper, more fulfilling kind of life—that isn’t about avoiding pain. It’s about finding God faithful and sufficient in the midst of whatever trials or thorns He allows. There’s something about our weakness that opens the flow of God’s strength. In the midst of a trial, there’s a power coming into your life that you’ve never experienced before because you never needed it so desperately before. Only when you’re personally weak can you experience this supernatural strength.
When you see a hard thing coming your way, try a different reaction: I may not want this, I certainly didn’t choose it, but I can accept it and be content even now. I know God’s grace is sufficient to get me through it. I’m going to see the power of Christ in my life in an incredible way. I’m weak, but He’s strong.
God never allows a thorn without providing sufficient grace and strength in our weaknesses. Sufficient grace is not just enough to survive, but enough so that we can have supernatural joy in the midst of anything He allows us to go through. That’s strength.
This post originally appeared on Dr. James MacDonald’s daily devotional Our Journey and was republished with permission.
James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is the founding senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, leads the church-planting ministry of Harvest Bible Fellowship, teaches the practical application of God’s Word on the Walk in the Word radio and television programs, and is a gifted author and speaker. You can find out more about James and his ministries at WalkintheWord.org.