One of life’s most puzzling aspects is that sometimes when we think we are being weak we are, in fact, being strong. When we reflect upon Paul’s ministry, we could think that Paul looks weak. If we do not think this way, many in Paul’s own circle of influence certainly did. Yet Paul knew how to explain his circumstances and wrote concerning his “thorn in the flesh” in 2 Corinthians:
Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).
At times we want to overpower another person to our way of thinking or to our point of view. Habitually we are so wrapped up in our own agenda that we cannot see another’s agenda.
As we live through Lent is it possible for us to remember that our church is in reality Christ’s church? Paul’s approach of power was like Christ’s. What others saw on the cross as weak, God used for the good of humankind. The Hebrew/Egyptian Prince Joseph said it as well as any when Joseph told his brothers, “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today” (Genesis 50:20). Even in our weakness, God can use that weakness as a source of strength for God’s world. This is one of many important messages that Lent provides us.