9 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.10 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)
The Christian author, speaker and singer, Joni Eareckson Tada, suddenly became quadriplegic (paralysed in all 4 limbs) at the age of 17 as a result of a diving accident in 1967. After over 53 years in a wheelchair, Joni considers this passage of scripture to be her “life verse”. When her beautiful song, “Alone, yet not alone”
was nominated for an Oscar she said, “When I heard the simple, melodic ballad, I wanted to record it. I really resonated with the words—after all, I sit down in a stand-up world and often feel alone; but of course, with my faith in God, I’m never really alone!”
In the preceding verses the Apostle Paul explains to the believers that he suffers from a “thorn in my flesh” and says that it was given to him to keep him from becoming conceited. He pleaded with the Lord three times to remove it but God said to him “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Paul then exclaims, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me” and goes on to say “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships and difficulties. For when I am weak then I am strong.”
These amazing words can only be uttered by those who realise their total dependence on the Lord for everything they are and for all their strength. They do not depend upon themselves or on their own ability. They depend totally on the Lord knowing He will provide the strength and ability for the task in hand.
Some, believers and non-believers alike, live, like Joni, with obvious disabilities. Some live with semi-hidden disabilities such as deafness and others with conditions that affect them greatly but are unseen. All of them are very conscious of their weakness because of how their condition affects their daily lives. However, if we are honest, we all have weaknesses which show up when the conditions are right for them to appear and we probably know very well what they are even if we do not like to admit them.
May this passage of scripture be of great comfort and support to those of us who know the Lord, no matter what level of disability or weakness we are experiencing, because the Lord says to us. “Leave it with Me. Trust Me. My strength is yours and I can show it perfectly through your weakness and My grace will be sufficient for you!”
Written by Sam Phillips, MMN Trustee