Strength in apparent weakness

Two Sudanese men. One very tall and one very short

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness”. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

The golden thread running throughout scripture is that of strength in apparent weakness. Tiny armies, like Gideon’s, and tiny people like David taking on hugely superior forces in the strength God supplies, and winning convincingly.  

The apostle Paul, himself seems to struggle with a disabling condition. We don’t know what it was. But we do know it was a chronic and debilitating problem which was never healed. Despite this, Paul was very tenacious and self-sufficient, supplementing his own ministry income through tent-making, and so this ‘thorn’, as he describes it, must have tested his resolve to serve God to the limits at times. Yet God’s word to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”, would surely have reassured him that the ministry to which he had been called would not fail because of any physical limitations on his part. In fact quite the opposite!  Although God did not remove Paul‘s disability, He did promise to demonstrate His power in and through it enabling Paul to do useful Kingdom building work.  A supremely valuable example to those of us that struggle to get stuck in to His work, be it through our own, or other people’s, assumptions of our physical circumstances. 

Until quite recently, I was reluctant to volunteer for any form of Christian service, let alone take on a ministry role, especially if it meant holding a mic at the front of a meeting or leading some spiritual activity such as ‘laying on of hands’ during prayer encounters.  Furthermore, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about why I didn’t step up, just in case I discovered something about my own attitude that needed addressing. Its not that I was lazy, I just lacked confidence in my ability to convince others that I might have something to offer a non-disabled congregation. Experience had told me that whatever the context, physical limitations almost certainly translated as weakness, which in a ‘church’ context translated into spiritual weakness: dangerous and not to be trusted with an already fragile soul. What is often not recognized, however, is the capacity someone with a disability has for empathizing with the weaknesses and limitations other people, disabled or non-disabled, might have to live with. More importantly though, is the demonstration that the God-given strength a disabled Christian has, to rest in the knowledge that physical healing might not be God’s plan for their life on earth, while praying for others for whom healing is. 




On the conversation ‘Little James’, has with Jesus in E2:S3 of The Chosen, “Two by Two”. You can see the whole episode by downloading The Chosen App on a smart device.

Thank God that our community has people who have the ability to empathize with perceived weakness, praying encouragement and releasing them into acts of service.

“A man like you healing others. Oh… what a sight! I can’t wait to hear your stories” (Jesus, The Chosen, E2:S3). 

So would Kingdom Storytellers!