Thanksgiving in Our Weakness
As we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas, we recognize not everyone is leaping into the holidays with strength and good cheer. Some of us are limping. What does it mean, then, when Paul says God’s power is made perfect in weakness?
By Ronn Read
Field Team Chaplain
Saint Marys, Georgia
Two words Paul used often are comprehend and apprehend. He says the natural man cannot comprehend (so obviously won’t apprehend) the things of the Spirit; they are actually moronic to him (see 1 Corinthians 2:14). To the natural man, wisdom seems foolish. That’s not difficult for us to understand when we look at the paradoxes in the scriptures:
- We die to live.
- We serve to lead.
- We give to gain.
- When we’re weak, we’re strong.
That last one, especially, can throw us for a loop. Strength is something we take for granted when we have it—when we’re young, virile, and able to do just about anything we want to do when we want to do it.Strength is something we take for granted when we have it.Click To Tweet
Then one day, just like that, we can’t open that jar or carry that box. We laugh it off—or try to—but deep down we realize that we just don’t have the strength we used to have. We recognize this to be true physically, but in certain seasons of our lives, it can also be true spiritually.
If you’re feeling weak this holiday season, take heart (which means to grab confidence): the Bible promises that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).
Power Made Perfect in Weakness
What does Paul mean by that though? God delights in coming alongside us in situations where our human strength is lacking to demonstrate the greatness of His power.
With this assurance, Paul was able to boast and even take pleasure in his weakness so that the power of God could, and would, work through him. He realized the paradox of his condition—that in his frailty he was strong because his strength came from Christ.Paul was able to boast and even take pleasure in his weakness so that the power of God could, and would, work through him.Click To Tweet
The strength that Paul comprehended and apprehended is available to you, too. So how do you appropriate it? The answer is found in 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4:
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. (emphasis added)
Amid persecutions and afflictions, when our faith in God—in His plan, His promises, and His power—increases, we grow in strength: His strength. We learn. We trust. We grow.
THE BIG IDEA: Amid persecutions and afflictions, when our faith in God increases, we grow in strength: His strength.
And strength grows even more as we understand the value of “one another.” That phrase is used more than 70 times in the New Testament—largely because there truly is strength in our fellowship and love for one another. In contrast, isolation furthers our weakness.
So are you feeling weak as the stresses of life rain down on you? Take heart. That’s a great place to be, IF you call out for the One who is your strength. He will prop you up so that even now, you experience growing faith and increasing love.
Men, let’s give thanks! No matter how weak we might be feeling this season, His power is made perfect in our times of greatest need. His grace is sufficient.