Strength in Weakness

That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:10

We love the exciting aspects of the Christian life-except for the suffering. But Paul wrote, "Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).

If you want to be used by God, then you will be attacked. If you want to mix in with the crowd and never stand up for your faith in Christ, then you probably will not have much opposition. But if you say, "I want my life to make a difference. I want to stand up for Jesus Christ wherever I am," then you will face opposition.

Paul faced a lot of it-from unexpected sources. He said,

    I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. . . . I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. (2 Corinthians 11:23–26)

In spite of this, Paul stated, "I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death" (Philippians 3:10). Part of knowing God is not only in the power of His resurrection, but also in His suffering.

God can work through human weakness and suffering. But if you face calamity, if you have a physical infirmity or challenge and can still rejoice and praise God, then that is a powerful witness. And in some ways it can be more powerful than the person who has no infirmity at all.