“In order to keep me from becoming conceited, Iwas given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger ofSatan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded withthe Lord to take it away from me. But he said tome, “My grace is sufficient for you, for mypower is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly aboutmy weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reston me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight inweaknesses, in insults, in hardships, inpersecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak,then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12: 7-10)
“Thorn in flesh”?• Not a temptation• Probably a physical weakness or a difficult person or situation• Look around us: the most difficult person could be our God-given ‘thorn in the flesh’
God’s Discipline• God knows our arrogant easily-hardened hearts• God knows the importance of destroying pride; our human nature ‘naturally’ longs to rely only on ourselves• Gods wants to prove to us that our own efforts are insufficient• Good news: He is always there at the ‘end’ of the road
We cannot experience God’s power unless we feelwe need to rely on Him
God’s Frame• Our pride tends to view our successes as resulting from our own efforts• We need to see events with the eyes of Christ (and our weakness ‘forces’ us to see!)• We don’t need miracles; we need believers• Good news: He is already there even when we don’t know it
God’s Self-Limitation• We are intimately connected to God’s power via our weaknesses (strength from weakness is like the irrevocability of freedom)• Faith really moves the hands of God – why? Because God decided that it will.• Good News: Weakness is raw material for greater faith - asking for more faith is itself an act of faith!
“Jesus could do no deed of power there…he was amazed at their unbelief.” (Mk 6:7)
God’s Hiddenness• God wants to teach/show us another kind of power, one the world doesn’t understand• God’s power “looks like” weakness, so our power also expresses itself through our weakness• God’s power cannot but appear weak to a sinful world• Good News: Whenever there is weakness, we know (contra appearances) that God’s strength is being perfected
Can we see the truth withinillusion, the authenticembedded in thesuperficial, the wonderinside the ordinary, themiraculous of the banal?
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract usto him, nothing in his appearance that weshould desire him. He was despised andrejected by mankind, a man ofsuffering, and familiar with pain.Like one from whom people hide theirfaces, he was despised, and we held him inlow esteem.” (Isaiah 53:2-3)
Can we see the power of a ‘run down’ traditional church?
Can we see the kingdom inside ‘simple’ parables?
Can we see the glory andpower of a man crucified?
“My grace is sufficient for you, formy power is made perfect in weakness.”