The Secret Power in Weakness


… To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. —2 Corinthians 12:7b-9 NLT

My heart started to race, and I could hear the blood pumping extra quickly in my veins and arteries. The news I was hearing made me weak. I was all set to fly to The Netherlands to visit a newly-born granddaughter. I had been longing for this moment since I first found out she was arriving in July.

In preparation, I had checked all the appropriate pandemic boxes to fly in early August, including scheduling my covid test within the requisite 72 hours of flight. The facility had promised results on time. However, when I actually arrived, they informed me they were behind, and it could take up to five days. Oh no! The airline required this test. My flight was booked. My daughter and family were ready to greet me. I had a suitcase full of little presents ready for them all. And now, when I looked for another test site, none was available until the day I flew. I was a fluttery, worried, helpless little mess of a Nina (my grandchildren’s name for me).

My weakness was distressing. I knew in my mind that God loved me and wanted good for me. I knew that if He closed the door to this much-anticipated trip, He had good reasons, and I could trust Him. I even prayed that. Yes, I did. I told Him I wanted to go desperately, but I would receive His closing of that door if His will was otherwise. I said the right things to Him. I believed the right thing as best I could. But my heart would not cooperate, keeping up its rapid pace. I still felt weak and discombobulated … not the calm, strong prayer warrior trusting in the Lord with a serene demeanor that I wanted to be. Not at all. Blurgh. I felt like a failure.

Then, as I popped an Advil in an attempt to get my blood pressure back down where it belonged, I remembered the verse above and Paul sharing his own struggles getting his body to be behave as he wished. Earlier in this section of his letter to the Corinthians, Paul had revealed the supreme privilege he’d experienced when he was taken out of his body and into a place he called the “third heaven.” Wow. He saw sights we have never imagined. Like Daniel of old, God opened the curtain separating this physical world from the spiritual realm and allowed Paul to take a peek. To temper that tremendous experience, which could lead to a prideful sense of superiority, God allowed a “thorn” in Paul’s flesh. We don’t know what it was. Only that it was not pleasant to the degree that Paul begged for it to be removed. Three times. And God said “no.” Three times.

Yet, this is where our little secret resides: Right here in our weakness, right in God’s “no” to our desire to be strong and perfect in every way. When we are strong in our own selves, confident and assured, it’s very easy to rest in our own strength and not really rely on God, whose strength far surpasses ours. By keeping us weak in certain areas, God is actually blessing us. He’s reminding us in concrete, physical ways that we need Him. We need to lean on Him, rely on Him, run to Him, depend on Him. We need to be reminded that we are weak human beings in need of the Lord.

In my case, I needed to be reminded that despite “knowing” all the right things, sometimes my body was going to respond to bad news in weak little ways. What did this do? Compelled me to lean on my Jesus. Caused me to whisper, “Oh, Lord! I want to be strong and serene here, and yet look at me. I am little and weak and flattened by this twist in my planning. I am not in control. You are. And whether you give me a calmed body or not, I trust You, and, oh, Lord, how I need You!”

It was good for me to be weak. It was good for me to remember that God loves me when I am a blithering, shaky mess just as much as when I am the serene woman I desire to be. I don’t need to be some perfect, unshakeable tower of strength to matter to Him. He loves His weak ones, and He cares for them. I am safe with Him. And … it was also good to get negative covid results from a second testing site in time—and board that plane for a wonderful week with my dear family celebrating their new, little arrival. God met my needs despite my anxiety and stress. I didn’t have to make my body behave in order for Him to help me. He just did.

Can you relate? Are there times when you know all the right things to say, and you actually do believe them, but there you are, weak as a newborn babe? Cheer up. Lean in toward the Lord and celebrate. When we are at our weakest, God’s strength is most visible in our lives. We can’t do it. We can’t manufacture it. We can only cry out to the One who is strong and rest in the assurance that He is with us, no matter how we feel or how we react to hard situations.

Dear Good Father, thank You that there is a purpose even in weakness. We acknowledge that Your grace is all we need. Your power actually works best when we aren’t trying to muscle through on our own. So we gladly boast about our weaknesses and how the power of Christ works through us in spite of ourselves. We rejoice that it’s Your strength, always sufficient, that meets our needs. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

You are loved,




Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

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and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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6 Comments. Leave new

  • I remember when I was a newly married to my second husband, and had 3 young children, and suddenly MS struck me. My left leg went numb up to my waist (almost) and left leg up to my knee. I felt nothing so walking was a real hard job. I began to walk crooked because I never knew where my legs were going to go. I prayed and asked God “Why Me”, “Why Now”, and He let me know because He wanted me to pray and don’t question it, just go with it. Hard to do but I did it. Because my dear friend Beulah St.Pierre, had it and she was a lot worse off then me. Slowly I was getting feeling back in my legs, and my speech was getting better, and so was my patience. My little ones 9 down to 6 were helping me do housework as I couldn’t work for a year . Oh God doesn’t always give you a headache for the day, he can make it last as long as he needs you to pay attention to Him first for the sake of us all. It was the greatest ‘teaching’ lesson I’ve ever had. Now that I appear to be fine, I still have days when it rears it’s ugly head and I have eye problems, or speech problems, but He has lead me all the way down the road to hit 81 years old, and only small problems since them. I’m so fortunate to have such a loving God, And friends like Sharon, who brought “Sweet Saleh Ministries” to our church. Thank you to all who have shown me how to Survive even when you have no idea what’s going to happen to you, Love you all.

    • What a beautiful testimony, Joyce, of how God sustained and helped you through a very hard season and look at you today – praising HIM!! Love you so much, friend.

  • Margaret Fowler
    September 27, 2021 8:55 pm

    Yes I can relate, very much. thanks for this message, and thanks also to Joyce.

    • It’s hard when your body won’t “behave” the way your mind wants it to! I’m so glad God answers prayers even when we are weak. Perhaps especially, I am glad then.

  • So glad God saw for you to go to The Netherlsnds.8


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