"But the Lord said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" / 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
This may be a familiar passage to a lot of you. Personally, I've grown up hearing it whenever I or someone went through hard times. It can be really easy to skim over this verse and think, "Okay whatever. I've heard this before...so what?" But I'd like to challenge us to think differently about this today.
First, let's go back in time...
The apostle Paul was the one who wrote down those words in 2 Corinthians. This guy is one of the most beloved followers of Jesus and I know that he's just dancing and partying it up with Jesus right now! However — Paul's life wasn't perfect. It wasn't easy. At the beginning of his life, Paul was the furthest thing from a Christ-follower. He hated and harassed Christians. But eventually, God got ahold of Paul and changed his life — God brought him to salvation and Paul had a new mission.But just because Paul received Jesus into His life doesn't mean that life automatically became easy or perfect. Paul dedicated his life to spread the gospel — and because of that, he was constantly attacked and harassed by people who hated Jesus. He had to hide and endure physical, emotional and spiritual injuiries. He was nearly stoned to death.He was thrown into prison repeatedly. He was shipwrecked on the way to spread the gospel.In the end, Paul was put to death because of his faith in Jesus.
Why say all of that?
Anyone else's jaw on the floor? Maybe you're wondering, "How can a man that has gone through ALL OF THAT be content? How was Paul able to be content with a life like that?!" In 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, a few verses before our passage, Paul tells the Corinthians that he was given hardships so that he wouldn't become self-absorbed. Paul PLEADED for God to take away the hard times — over and over again (vs 8).
Paul was desperate for all of the physical trials, seasons of waiting and hardships to leave him. Just like you and I — Paul struggled with hard times. This is where our key verse comes in.God says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." God's grace is bigger than our hard times. It's present and active. It is sufficient (more than enough) to carry us through hard times.On this earth, hard times are inevitable. Sadness, impatience, anxiety and all of those rough things are going to happen. But our Heavenly Father gives us an option — we can doggy paddle helplessly through hard times or cling to Him and His grace to carry us through it. The hard times that we go through in life are the perfect canvases to display God's power. The hard times that we go through are the perfect moments to show the world that God is bigger.What Paul realized was that hard times could be made good with God. Hard times could be used as a platform to show the world Jesus — to show off Jesus' gospel of love. That's why he says in verse 11, "I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me!"
Hard times are no fun. Heck — hard times suck. I will never deny that. But, as children of God, we have the power to be content. We have the power to be peaceful, restful and trusting in the midst of trials — that's what true contentment is. Do you trust that God's grace is sufficient for you? Do you trust that no matter what you're dealing with right now that God's grace is BETTER? That it can be trusted? Friend — I don't know what you're going through. Maybe you're struggling with school or your job. Maybe you are battling depression or anxiety. Maybe you're having a hard time finding contentment in this season of life. Whatever it may be... I encourage you to seek to know God's grace. Seek Him — taste and see that He is good. See that His grace is more than enough to carry you through the hard times and out the other side. View the hard times as blessings — view them as opportunities to show the world God's grace. View these difficult times as opportunities to share the gospel and the reality that there is HOPE. "For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, I am strong."