7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That 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. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV
Have you ever given any thought to those things you consider your "weaknesses?" I know. Stupid question. If you're like most people, your weaknesses tend to be glaring in your eyes. Kind of like the teen who gets a giant pimple the night before his first date--he just knows that everyone has to be staring. How could you possibly look at me and not see ...?
Paul had that same question. And he took his concerns straight to the Source--God himself. The answer he got must have surprised him. Surely he didn't hear the Lord correctly. Did He really say that this weakness was good? that it had a purpose? that he somehow could use it? In case you missed it, read it again. That's exactly what God said to Paul...and to you and me.
That problem you carry. That burden you think is too much to handle. That character trait that saddens you or that struggle that has haunted you all of your life can have a purpose. NOW, before you start blaming God for your problems, keep in mind that this does not excuse you and me from a life of holiness. The Bible is very clear that purity is our ultimate goal. But Paul learned that the struggle for holiness can be a showcase for God's grace. I love the way it's worded here--"for my power is made perfect in weakness." God's grace becomes an oasis of love in the desert of our imperfection. My anger, your greed, my failure, your imperfection--all are opportunities for God to show "His stuff." And He does it well.
So, keep this in mind the next time you are focused more on your weakness than on His strength. God can shine through your weakness if you'll trust Him. In your weakness, no matter what it's shape or form, God is strong--strong enough to carry you by His grace.