“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”
(2 Corinthians 12:9)
In Greek mythology, there was a Greek warrior named Achilles, the hero of the Trojan War and the greatest of all the Greek warriors. In spite of being the greatest Greek warrior, Achilles had a major weakness, his heel. It was an area that his enemies focused on and eventually he was killed as his enemies exploited on his weak spot. Weakness in the eyes of world is always something negative, where people would exploit and hence the term “Achilles heel”. Weakness is something in which we tend to cover up. In job interviews, it is easier to questions relating to our strengths than to talk about our weaknesses.
The Bible has a different approach to weakness. Weakness in light of the grace of God could be turn to positives and strengths. We see this 2 Corinthian 12:9, where Paul speaks of his weaknesses and his transparency as he struggles with his pain. In 2 Corinthians 12, he shares about his suffering as an apostle (2 Cor. 12:10) as well as his personal infirmity (2 Cor. 12:7-8), given to him to keep from becoming excessively proud, as a result of the revelations he had seen. He pleaded with the Lord three times to have his “thorn in the flesh” removed. The Lord’s answer was only: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9a)
What this “thorn in the flesh”? We don’t know for sure. What we do know is that Paul speaks about different infirmities in his writings. But one thing is clear for Paul, weakness is not his enemy. He writes that: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor. 12:9b). For Paul, his weakness gave him a true estimation of himself, so that he would not be conceited and to see who he truly is. Paul’s weakness kept him in check. He is grounded by the reality of his weakness. He not only is transparent about it, but he wants to share it, so that others can see the power of Christ at work in his life in spite of his weakness.
This is what it means to be human, to be at home all our problems and issues, our weaknesses, and struggles, and knowing that God is intervening with His grace which is sufficient in all that we are facing. The fact that Paul asked three times shows that he is seeking God continually because it’s hard to bear with his weakness. Something amazing happens when he goes before the Lord, and God says to him: “my power is made perfect in weakness.’’
Paul’s ends his sharing with this truth: “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10). So we give who we are to the Lord, with all our weaknesses, frailties, and failures, and trust His grace and power at work within us. We can be real and not pretend that everything is okay and allow others to see God’s goodness and His power at work in our lives.
Rev. Dr Timothy Chong