“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
How many times have you come to realize that you are not enough? God tells us that there is no way we can do or be enough to deserve being called his children. The good news is that we don’t have to do or be enough to gain His favor because He gives it to us freely when we believe in Jesus and accept His gift of salvation.
What a relief. But that doesn’t mean we don’t still try to honor God. We need to keep in mind that we don’t do good things to gain God’s approval, but as a way of thanking and praising Him for being so gracious to us. But there are so many times when we try and try and still don’t feel like we are obeying Him the way we should.
We all have weaknesses. You might struggle with having patience with your little brother who drives you nuts. You might have a problem with telling the truth. You might struggle to be nice to people who are usually left out because they’re a little different. All of us have a hard time doing what we know is right.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come to God in prayer and said, “I’ve messed up again, just like before.” Thankfully his answer is, “I know and I forgive you.” But sometimes I just want to ask Him to make me patient because I’m not. I want to ask Him to change everything in me so that I’ll be a nicer person.
His answer to that is in this verse, where Paul is talking about asking God to remove the thorn in his side. We don’t exactly know what he was referring to but we know that God gave him strength to keep going despite his troubles. God told him that his weakness helped point back to God’s power.
I can ask God over and over again to just make me a better person, to fix me so that I don’t mess up anymore but He tells me that I need to rely on his grace. I’m glad He gives it to me freely because I can be a total mess sometimes. When we find ourselves having fallen back into sin, when we’ve done, said, or even thought something we shouldn’t have, God says, “It’s okay because my grace covers that sin and then helps you work on doing better next time.”
Paul talks about boasting in his weakness. Of course I don’t want to go around saying, “Hey, look at me, I’m very impatient and that’s great!” But God’s grace enables me to say, “I tend to be impatient but I serve a God who helps me to have patience when I need it.” This verse is a reminder that God’s love for us allows his grace to cover our sins when he forgives us.
It’s also a reminder that he can use us despite our weaknesses. When someone sees how patient we can be in a situation where we normally would be very impatient and have a bad attitude, we can point them to Jesus and the work that he is doing in our hearts.