So we are facing obstacles, things don’t seem to be wanting to go our way… We had everything mapped out just beautifully right down to the minute detail and we spent so much of time doing so. Yet… things seem to be going the opposite direction, far from our plans and ideas. The project manager’s nightmare – and likewise with us when we manage our projects labelled our lives! Finances, health, time tables, external factors all seem to have decided to not co=operate. In fact, where we had hoped to climb the ladder, we find ourselves backing down instead!
How do we react? We get angry, frustrated, disappointed even to the point of depression. We vent out these negative emotions on God and our loved ones. Then we PRAY… we pray and pray and pray asking God to remove the storms in our lives, we DEMAND in the name of faith to HEAL us of our sicknesses and give us CLEAN health, we instruct Him to change the situation that with Him all things are possible. Can you identify with that? Then when things do turn around, we BOAST that He hears our prayers and that He listened to MY prayer.
Yet, how many of us have the capacity to ‘delight in weaknesses’? Even if not at all times, are we able to at least sometimes delight in insults or delight in hardships or delight in persecutions or delight in difficulties? Do I sound as if I have gone off my head? Is that what you are thinking right now? Why should we face all the negative things listed above when we have a SUPREME God?
What does Scripture say? Remember Paul’s life when you read what God inspired him to write. This was a man who had humbled himself despite his talents and education and knowledge to dedicate himself COMPLETELY to seeing God’s kingdom come on earth. He went through much lack and even was imprisoned for his zeal for God.
2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV) 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.
Comparing the different translations of this verse in the different versions of the Bible, gives us a wider perspective in approach to these situations. Please don’t skip saying you know the verse as the message gets clearer as you do compare. Some versions use, “I take pleasure in… ” or “I am pleased with… ” or “I’m all right with …”
2 Corinthians 12:10 (ESV) 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 12:10 (KJV) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak , then am I strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10 (MSG) Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
- What are the negative situations as listed above that you are facing right now, today?
- How are you responding to them?
- What does it mean “for when I am weak, then I am strong”?
- Compare your life to Paul’s life – remembering the lack of technology, lack of electricity, lack of proper roads and transportation etc in his times to your life today? Where were his priorities and where are your priorities?
In some versions, 2 Corinthians 12:10 begins with ‘that is why’ or ‘therefore’ showing the link with the verse before. Why does Paul say he delights or is content with all these negative situations that arise?
“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me”.
Paul stands firm not in his knowledge of God but personal experience that comes from intimacy with God.. He knew that God had said His grace is sufficient for him and that it is through his weaknesses that God can take over. When we complete something in our strength, who gets the glory? Yet when we complete something when we are weak, then who gets the glory?
When a wife gets pregnant just like that, we just take it to be granted as ‘natural’. Yet when people who have been longing for babies and haven’t been able to conceive yet when they conceive later on in life, it is taken as a miracle, and cherished as divine intervention. When we are weak, He is strong and His power dwells in us then. Are we able to thank God regardless of what our plates hold? Are we thankful for weaknesses, for trials, for difficulties, for persecutions, for insults, for oppositions, for bad breaks, for hardships, for…. ? Or are we thinking so high of ourselves that we are DEMANDING God to heal us completely or to take away all the problems that come our way? Do we really think we know better than God or do we think that He won’t do what’s best for us if we don’t dictate terms to Him and tell Him what He MUST do?
Joseph was given a vision of ruling over his family.. Yet his life took a turn in the opposite direction of being a slave, a prisoner etc before he was led to the promised role. David was anointed to be king when he was merely a shepherd boy but it also took many years later in various roles in the palace and out before he was led to step into his anointing. The turn offs are often grounds of training to mould and to prepare and to show God’s supreme power.
Think of Jesus Christ who left His rightful place in heaven to live on earth in the flesh as man, who went about His father’s business at all times and who faced temptation but never sinned. He was falsely accused, mistreated and crucified. He knew what was ahead of Him, and He indeed cried out to God to take the cup of suffering away from Him… yet He surrendered to God’s will saying, “Not my will but Yours be done”! He knew that His suffering would be a blessing for you and me.. so that through His blood our sins would be forgiven and that we could once again have the intimacy with the Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ, that the Holy Spirit could now take His place in us, God’s temple. Oh yes, we want to not suffer for our sins, take up the suffering that Jesus took up on our behalf and have cushy comfy lives here on earth AND we want the benefit of eternity too!
Let’s take a look at our lives, examine it, see how we spend our time and money and thoughts and all resources. Remember Jesus Himself said that in this life we WILL have troubles but He assured us of His presence through it all. Are you able to pray surrendered prayers trusting God knows best?
Prayer isn’t about changing God’s mind to fit our demands
but it should be about us surrendering our will to yield to God’s mind
with the HUMILITY that God knows best and we don’t!