“And so His people are still taught to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. When He strengthens them, it is not by taking away the sense of feebleness, and giving in its place the feeling of strength. By no means. But in a very wonderful way leaving and even increasing the sense of utter impotence, He gives them along with it the consciousness of strength in Him. ‘We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.” The feebleness and the strength are side by side; as the one grows, the other too, until they understand the saying, ‘When I am weak, then am I strong; I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me.’” (Murray, Andrew. Abide in Christ. Fort Washington: Christian Literature Crusade, 1968, p. 158.)
In 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, Paul speaks of his prayer that God would remove a “thorn in his flesh”, to which the He replies, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Practically, we want the grace of Christ’s strength to come after and replace my feeling of weakness. It has struck me that Paul’s language is “When I am weak, then I am strong.” The when and the then are concurrent, not consecutive. It is in the place of felt weakness that I become more fully aware of the grace of Christ enabling, energizing and guiding my thoughts, my words, my steps. This is so very un-American though. We tend to see the grace of God as an enhancement of my strength, rather than as strength in itself to be contained in the simple pottery of my weak little life.
Where have you been feeling weak? Have you been asking Christ to remove the weakness? Perhaps He is wanting you to know His gracious strength in the midst of your weakness. What do you think?