I’ve been a Christian for many years. I’ve been around thousands and thousands of believers and I would say most Christians have yet to experience the depth of Christ’s power. Why? Because they haven’t admitted their weaknesses and they haven’t expressed gratitude for them.
I love 2 Corinthians 12:9b in The Living Bible: “I’m glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities.” You may not realize it but your weaknesses are actually blessings in disguise.
Here are four ways that’s true:
1. Having weaknesses guarantees God’s help.
When you attempt to face a challenge or solve a problem in your own power, God says, “I’ll step back and watch. Be my guest. Go ahead and do it. If you think you can handle this on your own, great. If you think you can solve that problem at work, if you think you can make that marriage hang together, if you think you can turn that kid around in your own power, be my guest.”
But the moment you come to God and say, “God, I’m weak. I don’t have what it takes for all the pressures that are in my life. God, I need You.” God says, “I knew that. I just wanted you to realize it.” Then he plugs you into his limitless power supply and you experience peace and a deeper understanding of God’s love. You’ll find power you would never have on your own. A power to thrive and not merely survive.
When God is all you have, you turn to him and realize he’s all you needed in the first place.
2. Having weaknesses prevents arrogance.
Second Corinthians 12:7 says, “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited” (ESV).
A thorn is a limitation I’ve inherited or cannot change, something that causes me pain and limits my ministry. Some thorns are temporary in our lives. Some thorns are removed gradually. Some you have for a lifetime, as with Paul.
What does a thorn do in my life? It’s that persistent problem that causes me pain, gets my attention, keeps me dependent upon God, and humble before him. It acts as a governor on my life. It guides and directs me, and it motivates me.
If God is ever going to use you in a great way, expect a thorn. He will do it to get your attention. It may be physical, relational, emotional, or some other kind of thorn, but it will come because it prevents arrogance and it guarantees God’s help.
3. Having weaknesses causes you to value others.
One of the dangers of strength is that it breeds an independent spirit. God made us to value each other, and our weaknesses keep us from being self-sufficient so that we lean into the support of other people.
You’re pretty weak, and I’m pretty weak, but together we can do things that nobody thought possible. That’s why it’s so vital for you to plug into a local church, get involved, develop relationships, and get in a small group, so that when a crisis hits your life there’s somebody there to support you. And you’re there to help others when they go through crisis.
4. Having weaknesses gives you a ministry.
God puts you on earth not just to live for yourself, but to help other people. Your greatest ministry will flow out of your weaknesses.
The greatest life message, the message that God wants to say to the world through you is going to come out of your deepest hurt. The very thing that causes you the most grief and pain, God can use in your ministry and can use it as a message to other people to encourage them.
The thing you’re most embarrassed about, the thing you’re most ashamed of, the thing you don’t want anybody else to know about, God wants to use to encourage other people. Pain sensitizes us to the hurts of others. If you want to have a Christlike ministry, that means sometimes other people are going to be helped, encouraged, and even healed by the wounds in your life.
God never wastes a hurt. God will use the thing in your life that you are most ashamed of, most embarrassed by, most heartbroken over, to encourage other people if you’ll learn to admit it, see what God wants to do in it, be healed through it, and begin to share it with others.