The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 77
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that 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)
God, in his love, desires to unite himself to us by the use of every created thing we encounter, and every event that befalls us. To achieve this goal, God uses the worst of his creation as well as the best. He uses the most unfortunate events, as well as the most pleasant. In fact, our communion with him is only made more worthy when it is sealed by means of those things that are most repugnant to our nature.
–Jean Pierre de Caussade
We learn from the apostle Paul that the power of Christ rests upon weakness—and not simply weakness, but weakness boasted in. Paul gives no indication that, if he had complained instead of boasted, the same power would have been present. Furthermore, this weakness has nothing to do with sin. It is not a weakness that yields to temptation. Paul is speaking of suffering forced upon him, which he was powerless to stop.
When you suffer in this manner, your suffering is two-fold. First, there is the experience itself, which must be endured. Second, there is your inability to avoid it. It is this feeling of powerlessness, and not just the unpleasant experience, that is “most repugnant to our nature,” as Jean Pierre de Caussade puts it.
In the midst of such weakness, it is hard to see how it could be conforming you to the image of Christ. Weakness that feels like power, or looks like power, is no weakness at all. No, the boasting is the boasting of faith. Faith does not judge by feeling or sight. Faith knows that God is able to use the weakness. Any tool works in his hand. Let all else be weak, but let your faith be strong. Then you will rest in the power that rests upon you.
The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.