I Am Weak | 1 Corinthians 12

Welcome to Real Life. What’s more spiritual than weakness?

“Our strength grows out of our weakness.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

My name is Peggi Tustan and I am a weak. I often struggle with anxiety, insomnia, and… Sorry, that’s the extent of vulnerability I can handle today. Because we hate to admit our weaknesses, don’t we? We want to appear strong, vibrant, and successful!

In contrast, the Apostle Paul boasts of his weakness. I never think of Paul as weak, do you? Not Paul, the evangelist, healer, church planter, Epistle writer, and saint extraordinaire. However, amidst his impressive resume, Paul confesses to a weakness so intense it tormented him—a thorn in his flesh. He repeatedly begged God to remove it.



Suddenly, we can all relate to super-saint Paul. For though we all have strengths and weaknesses, it is our weaknesses, our difficulties, our thorns in the flesh that torment us. What’s surprising is Paul’s thorn had a God-ordained purpose. Though Paul begged, God refused to remove it. He told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

We don’t like this answer from the Lord, do we? We want a miraculous healing and deliverance. Now that’s a testimony. But Paul understood. The thorn was God’s tool. With Paul’s impressive resume, the thorn helped him get up close and personal with his human frailty. It humbled him. For the truth is Paul’s resume was not the result of his mad skills, but God’s. Paul simply cooperated with God's work in and through him. 

Curious creatures that we are, we try to guess the nature of Paul’s thorn. Some say it was the constant persecutions and hardships he endured. Others believe it was poor eyesight, difficulty speaking clearly, chronic stomach issues (or some other recurring illness), or a facial disfigurement.[1] I’m glad we don’t know the specifics of Paul’s thorn. Thereby, we can insert our own. Surely, mine and yours are covered somewhere under Paul’s list of weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties.

Paul takes vulnerability to a new level by boasting of his weakness. He provides yet another example of God’s upside-down culture. When I am weak, then I am strong. The reality is we are all weak. We are flesh and fragile. We just don’t like to admit it. But when we do admit our frailties and limitations, then we can begin to rely on God’s strength.
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9–10
More times than I care to admit, I gladly boast of all the times I’ve taught, written, or mentored while battling anxiety or brain fog from lack-of-sleep. The temptation is to quit or cancel. There is no shame in this. However, it is when I feel the weakest, that I rely most on God’s strength. And when I do, I experience the supernatural. His Holy Spirit takes the lead and teaches, writes, mentors through me. Christ’s power rests on me. Now that’s a testimony.

And so, my dear siblings in the faith, don’t be discouraged. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Because it is not in our strength, but in our weakness Christ is magnified! Hallelujah!

Dear Father God,
Forgive my foolish pride.
Forgive my stubborn independence.
Forgive me for striving to do your work in my strength.
I am weak. I need you.
Teach me to rely on your strength.
Love, work, reach this world through me.
I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Is your thorn giving you grief right now? Leave me a comment. I will gladly pray for you! 


IMAGE of Thorns: Photo by Dustin Humes on Unsplash

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