Beyond Ourselves

2 Corinthians 12:5-10

The apostle Paul understood what it meant to be pushed to the limit. According to his letters, he knew a lot about hardships and suffering. But he was most knowledgeable about the ultimate importance of all of those painful experiences—namely, glorifying Jesus through his weakness.

We don’t like to feel that we’re helpless or lacking control of our own lives. But we can learn from Paul and from our personal life experiences that the prelude to great strength is great weakness. Take note of this important lesson about the Christian life: Our weakest moments—when we feel the most desperate—are the very times when God is free to do His greatest work by empowering and strengthening us. It is in those difficulties during which we whisper, “Father, I cannot go on” that we are granted the best equipping and the greatest enabling to endure adversity.

Human nature cries out for strength, courage, and adequacy to meet life’s challenges. Consequently, many people avoid fiery trials and valley experiences at all costs so they won’t have to face weakness. They tell themselves, I am able to handle life on my own terms; my strength is sufficient. But we can never understand the supernatural empowerment to go beyond our own limits unless we experience it for ourselves. The only way to have conviction about the Lord’s adequacy is to endure weakness and then witness the strength that springs from it. No matter what’s going on in our lives, there is power available to the children of God.

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