The Challenge – Day 3

And it is Day 3 of Nancy Krehbiel’s challenge to me to share a Bible verse that is meaningful to me for seven days.

I’ve never been able to do pull-ups or chin ups or anything of the sort. I remember in junior high knowing I could never win the President’s Physical Fitness Award. Pull-ups were a requirement. I knew they were not a possibility for me. The other things I had a hope to accomplish…but never the pull-ups. It was a weakness…one that I never felt there was a possibility to change. Almost anything in the athletic realm seemed to be out of my grasp, as a matter of fact. Athletic things were at the top of the list of my weaknesses….a list that was quite long in my mind.

There are a few verses in 2 Corinthians that changed my outlook on my weaknesses. Paul, who even by his own admission had few weaknesses, was the guy who wrote them. Right before this particular passage Paul said God allowed Satan’s angel to torture him so he wouldn’t feel quite so proud. What form did the torture take? He didn’t tell us. It really isn’t the point, because the commonality for all of us is that we have something that torments us. Something that makes us feel weak. When it attacked Paul, here’s what he said….


“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.<span class="crossreference" data-link="(A)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-29031A” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”> But he said to me, ‘My grace<span class="crossreference" data-link="(B)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-29032B” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”> is sufficient for you, for my power<span class="crossreference" data-link="(C)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-29032C” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”> is made perfect in weakness.’ 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<span class="crossreference" data-link="(F)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-29033F” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”> in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,<span class="crossreference" data-link="(G)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-29033G” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”> in persecutions,<span class="crossreference" data-link="(H)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-29033H” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”> in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV)


Or in another translation…

Three times I begged the Lord to make this suffering go away. But he replied, ‘My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.’ So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am. Yes, I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for Christ. Because when I am weak, I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (CEV)

We all suffer in this world. In some way, in some fashion, it’s guaranteed. The first instinct is a very loud “Why me?” It’s painful, it feels unbearable and we plead for God to take it away. Often that doesn’t happen (at least in our time frame….which is usually NOW!) and we are left to endure. It’s easy to feel over-burdened…and sorry for ourselves.

But God…

God allows us to feel the weight of our weakness for a reason. He wants us to cede our power to his. He wants us to trust him to take them and turn them into his strength. He wants us to acknowledge him, see him, learn from him, and lean on him. He wants us to replace our thought of who we are with all that God can make us. He wants us to have a life-changing experience. To give up our weakness and gain his power. To not be weak, but instead be strong.

Our YMCA has a pull-up machine where you can adjust the resistance so the machine takes over. Put enough weight on there, and the machine will practically do your pull-up for you. Actually enough weight and it will more than do it for you. The funny thing is, even if I have the resistance down to almost nothing, when I use that machine I get a workout. If I haven’t been on it in a while, my muscles end up being sore. I’m not doing most of the work, sometimes any work, but it sure looks like I am. My body is being used and made stronger.  I get the benefit of the help it can give. When I cede my weakness to the machine, I can become strong. The more and more that I use it, the more my body can do. Will I one day be able to do a pull-up on my own? It hasn’t happened yet, and honestly I am not even close, but I now know it is a possibility.

God’s like that machine. He will be our strength when we are weak. Be it physically, emotionally, or spiritually…..God can handle it. The weaker we are, the more room for him to work. Like Paul, sometimes we just need to change our perspective and brag on our weaknesses….because if we allow it, they give us a front row seat to see God’s strength in action. So….just so you know….I think I am weaker than you. Lucky me.


“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.<span class="crossreference" data-link="(A)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-29031A” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”> But he said to me, ‘My grace<span class="crossreference" data-link="(B)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-29032B” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”> is sufficient for you, for my power<span class="crossreference" data-link="(C)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-29032C” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”> is made perfect in weakness.’ 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<span class="crossreference" data-link="(F)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-29033F” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”> in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,<span class="crossreference" data-link="(G)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-29033G” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”> in persecutions,<span class="crossreference" data-link="(H)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-29033H” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”> in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV)
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