August 01, 2008

Did Paul Know Weakness?

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

When I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10


I believe that the Bible is inspired by God. But when I am struggling in my faith, it helps me to know more about its flesh-and-blood authors. Paul, the author of many New Testament letters, wrote, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” Did he know what he was talking about? What was his experience with weakness? Without a hint of self-pity, Paul told about some of his “weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 11:24-27, The Message): “I've been flogged five times with the Jews' thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I've been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I've had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I've been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I've known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather.” Whew, what a list of troubles! When I waver in my belief, it helps me to know that the authors of the Bible knew every kind of struggle I ever experienced?and many more.

Lord, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” through Jesus' strength. Thank you for the inspiring examples of faithful believers in your Word, and especially for Jesus. Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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