Power Made Perfect in Weakness

In 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10, Paul writes: But[Jesus] 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 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.
Holy Week starts on Sunday with Palm Sunday. We begin our walk with Jesus to the cross and the resurrection with cheering crowds greeting Jesus at a parade. They want to make Jesus their king, only the problem is that Jesus just isn’t a king like we would expect. Jesus’ power is made perfect in suffering and in weakness–in taking on all of our sin and in dying for us and then defeating death so that we too might live.
As we get ready to begin this holiest of weeks, in my spiritual life I find it incredibly moving and humbling to think about this weakness that our God was willing to demonstrate and to take on for us. It is utterly amazing that the POWER of God would be made perfect in weakness, as Paul says. I just love the irony.
But Paul doesn’t stop there, like I do. He connects himself to Jesus in his weakness. He looks at his ill health, the times he has been in prison and beaten, and finds that those are the times when he is the strongest. Those are the times in which he delights. Wait, delights???
As I have been pondering these verses, it has hit me how much I delight in my own strength. I love that I can go out and jog 6 miles. That I am healthy and I have a good job and a nice family. I take so much delight in the sunny weather and the tulips in my yard. And when I see them, I thank God so much.
But when I get sick or a friend gets really sick, or I have worries about money or cravings for the sugar I’m trying to give up for Lent, it just isn’t my go-to feeling to feel delight. I don’t like it. I don’t want to go through hard times.
And I don’t think that is what Paul wanted either—at least I doubt that is true. But the fact is that we all DO go through hard times. And those are the times that remind me that I am not as in control as I think I am. That I have to trust in God, or I simply will not be able to get through. Those are the times when I have to accept help.
And when we do those things—when we give up control, trust God, accept help—that is how we know that God loves us and will get us through any hard time we are in because God has been there. Jesus’ power was made perfect in weakness, NOT strength.
This year in Holy Week, I am going to try and rejoice in my weakness. Because I wonder if the irony of doing that, exposes the sin of how much I am relying on my own strength rather than on God’s strength. I am NOT going to thank God for my friend’s cancer or my god daughter’s arthritis or my “sugar addiction”. I don’t believe God wanted those things to happen at all. But I am going to rejoice in the helplessness I feel in the face of these things. Because these weaknesses drive me to those deep prayers that are of the Holy Spirit. These weaknesses drive me to reach out to others and to ask for and offer help—which is what we do for each other when we are the body of Christ.
I don’t know that I will EVER get to where Paul is, but this Holy Week, I am going to throw myself at Jesus’ feet and stop trying to control everything. Will you join me?

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