by Kim Engelmann
I am at peace and even take pleasure in any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and afflictions for the sake of the Anointed because when I am at my weakest, He makes me strong.”
—2 Corinthians 12:8-10, The Voice
The process of recovery is learning to actually boast about my own inabilities, my failures, my shortcomings, and ultimately my own powerlessness.
What does it mean to boast in these inadequacies? I think it boils down to recognizing the truth of my desperate weakness, and once realized, I will then be astoundingly grateful and eagerly dependent upon God’s initiative in my life. I will declare boldly that Christ alone is my strength and my song!
The catch is that God seems to be a great respecter of people’s choices. As long as I hold onto what I mistakenly think I can handle on my own, as long as I believe that I have the power to change by myself, God will allow me to run with that choice. I usually don’t hear people talk about how “delighted” they are by the fact that they are weak and have hardships and difficulties. It seems that Paul’s delight in all this comes from his profound love for Jesus, and his deep desire that Jesus be glorified in Paul’s own powerlessness. It’s as if he is saying, “I blew it, but this is a great opportunity for You now, Lord! Take over . . . here’s Your chance. . . cause right now I know I can’t.”
What a statement of powerlessness from someone who had wielded such tyrannical power over Christians, even sending them to their death! Of course the paradox is always present. Look at the power these words of Scripture have for us today.
[To purchase a copy of this video (or a longer version) go here]
[For additional reading about powerlessness we encourage you to get a copy of Recovering Faith: Words for the Way. Volume 1]
- How did Jesus teach us about powerlessness? How did He demonstrate it in His own life?
- Why is it difficult for us to “delight” in our weakness and powerlessness?
- What forces in our culture pull us away from dependency on God?
- What needs to happen for us to see “the light” of our own powerlessness?
- How would you describe God’s power at work in us, as different from the power of the world?
- In the film, there was mention of God paying attention when people come to the end of their own resources. In what way is this humorous? Tragic? Hopeful? What does this say about the heart of God?
Lord, have mercy on my desire
to be self-sufficient and master of my own destiny.
What a lonely road, and how powerless I am
to add even an inch to my height!
Again and again, I am deluded into believing
that I can do life without You.
Forgive me, and scoop me up.
Help me to know that You love me
just as I am,
with all of my weakness.
Shine through those weaknesses,
because they are thin and fragile places in me
that will let others see You more clearly.
I throw myself on Your grace,
in utter dependence and with wild gratitude.
You are my life, and I cling to You.
In Jesus’s name. Amen.