Strength in weakness

Sunday Reflection

18th October 2020

'I will boast all the more gladly of my.....'

9 'My grace is sufficient for you,
   for my power is made perfect in weakness.
   Therefore I will boast
   all the more gladly of my weaknesses,
   so that the power of Christ
   may rest upon me.'

2 Corinthians 12:9

Are you feeling weak, frustrated,
as though everything you try to do backfires
or just doesn't work out?

Are you exhausted by the situation we are in?
Does reading the above verse make you think,
   'That may have been OK for Paul
    but it isn't working for me?
These verses encapsulate the hardest
of Jesus' teachings;
that we should give everything over
to him and trust in him
to lead and guide us.

This goes against every lesson in life
that teaches us to seek strength
and take control.
We fear illness, death and loss of property,
so we want to be able
to take care of ourselves against
attackers at every level;
a home, secure against intruders,
good police who will come quickly,
or military strength against
those who threaten our peace.

We fear humiliation so we teach ourselves
to defend ourselves in debate
so that we can argue our case convincingly.

We guard our egos fiercely.
We spend our leisure time exercising
to strengthen and beautify our bodies.
We seek medical attention
to extend our physical lives,
avoid pain, and maximize our mobility.

We seek strength of will,
to avoid sin and get done
what we want to get done in this life.

Seeking strength informs every thought
and action of human life.
Even when we pray,
it is often for strength.
Heal me, Lord; help me -
get a job, make more money,
have a good marriage.

Most of what we seek is not bad in itself.
What drives us away from God
is the attitude that we must get stronger
so we can do things for ourselves.
For the stronger we are,
the more difficult it is to understand
and accept God's grace.

"For grace is given
not because we have done good works,
but in order that
we may be able to do them."

- Saint Augustine of Hippo

But once we can understand
that God's grace is sufficient for us,
we hold the key to all problems.
Is our first goal
to solve all our problems ourselves,
or is it to hand them over to God,
accept his grace,
and work with him in solving them?

God's grace is sufficient for us;
it is all we need.
Our power is made perfect in weakness;
God says:

"So do not fear,
 for I am with you;
 do not be dismayed,
 for I am your God.
 I will strengthen you and help you;
 I will uphold you
 with my righteous right hand."

Isaiah 41:10

It is our weakness,
not our strength,
that helps and allows us to find Jesus.

Remember, Jesus' triumph came,
not through his life
but through his death.

Our defeats in life increase
God's grace in our lives.
Paul repeatedly tells us to
rejoice in our suffering - why?

God's grace will not come to us
in our earthly victories,
but in our earthly defeats.