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  • Writer's pictureBetty Dodge

Grace, Weakness, and the Power of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9 [10])

…“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. [10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.] —2 Corinthians 12:9 [10]

We must look back to 2 Corinthians 12:1-8 for the context of this week’s Fighter Verses passage. The Apostle Paul is suffering a “thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.” Paul had been given “visions and revelations of the Lord,” and was “caught up to the third heaven—into the third paradise—and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter” (vv. 1-4). We never discover what this thorn in Paul is, but it must have been something very painful for this man of God, who was beaten, stoned, whipped, and imprisoned for the sake of the gospel, to plead with God to remove it. Many have speculated how the thorn manifested itself in Paul’s body, but God has not told us. We do know Paul calls it a thorn—something persistent, painful, “harassing” him, and difficult to ignore. Yet, instead of removing the thorn, God gives Paul something greater.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” These comforting words are a treasure from our omniscient God. They are a signpost pointing to joy in suffering and peace beyond our ability to fully understand. This grace comes from God in a constant flow of super-abundant sufficiency in our suffering so that the power (Gr. dunamis; glorious inherent power, able, capable) of Christ will be displayed in us when we are weakest.

We can count on His promise of sustaining grace to give us a peaceful, trusting countenance. Christ’s power will be perfected in us and will even give us contentment in continuously bearing under weaknesses of all kinds. And so, may each of us who are in Christ Jesus gladly boast in our weaknesses that His power may rest on us. It is for the sake of Christ, for His Kingdom and His name, that we suffer, and are even made content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. We are a living testimony of His grace, power, and strength.

A portion of Samuel Rutherford's lyrics for the hymn, “Immanuel's Land,” picture how the thorns of life are fitting us for heaven:

Deep waters crossed life’s pathway,

The hedge of thorns was sharp;

Now these lie all behind me—

Oh! For a well-tuned harp!

Oh, to join Hallelujah

With yon triumphant band,

Who sing, where glory dwelleth,

In Immanuel’s land.

Soon shall the cup of glory

Wash down earth’s bitterest woes,

Soon shall the desert-briar

Break into Eden’s rose:

The curse shall change to blessing—

The name on earth that’s banned,

Be graven on the white stone

In Immanuel’s land.


For Reflection

  1. Sometimes our weakness is obvious in illness or physical disability, but other times it is hidden weakness of heart, soul, and mind. Where are you weak? How has God, who is all-seeing and ever-faithful, comforted you in your weakness?

  2. In what ways does God’s grace strengthen you in your suffering? What is the practical impact in your life of having the power of Christ resting on you?

  3. God’s power is made perfect in your weakness—how might this truth be made obvious to a watching world?

  4. Think about how you might share the powerful grace of our Lord Jesus Christ with others who are also suffering.

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