Gaining Strength

2 Corinthians 12:1
My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness (v.9).

After 20 years in youth ministry, my husband has
weathered his fair share of injuries on the job.
Most recently, he was involved in a competitive
outdoor game when he twisted his foot. Playing through
the pain, he conceded to his injury only after winning
the contest. He limped to a nearby place to sit down and
carefully remove his sock, only to see his ankle quickly
swelling past the size of an orange. A trip to the hospital
revealed it wasn’t broken, but he soon realized it would
take time before his foot could bear weight once again.

Pain often serves as a reminder of our limitations. To
those of us who pride ourselves on our independence
and feel most comfortable being in control, we don’t
relish the pain when it reminds us we’re vulnerable.
Instead of admitting our need, we “play through the
pain,” if not to convince ourselves then to assure others
that we can handle whatever comes our way. No one
likes to feel weak.

The whole crux of the gospel, however, rests on
our desperate need and the insufficiency of our own
resources. Pride keeps us from admitting our needs, much
less our failures. But until we’re willing to deal with those
things, we cut ourselves off from the fullness of the power
of Christ in our lives.

Strength for the believer looks far different than
what the world professes. “[Jesus] gave up His divine
privileges . . . and was born as a human being” (Philippians 2:7) in the greatest
show of power the heavens have ever witnessed (2 Corinthians 13:4). We gain
strength when we see difficulties—and our weaknesses—as a means for His
power to be at work in us (12:9-10).

It’s the difference between limping and running (Isaiah 40:29).
—Regina Franklin

Read Isaiah 35:1 to
discover why we can
experience joy even as
we see and acknowledge
our own inadequacies.

How does the world’s
definition of strength
differ from the one found
in the Word of God? In
what areas of life have
you been limping on an
old wound rather than
admitting your weakness
and hurt to the Lord?