Weaknesses and the Glory of Jesus
Paul wrote the following…
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 Cor 12:10)
There are three clauses here that I think should be treated individually to see how they relate one to another.
Clause #1: For the sake of Christ, then…
We will come back to this first clause at the end.
Clause #2: I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities…
Each word here needs to be treated.
“I am content with” translates the Greek compound word “eudokeo,” meaning literally, “I think it well.” Notice Paul “thinks.” In the midst of hardship it is imperative that we think rightly. We must preach the truth to our soul all the time, and especially in suffering. The CSB translates the idea “I take pleasure in,” while the NIV translates it “I delight in.”
Think about that word for a minute and its implications… Whatever follows, whatever pain Paul goes on to expound, He THINKS it well for himself.
Insults: Verbal nastiness
Hardships: Lack of food, shelter, clothing…you know the necessities
Persecutions: Physical assaults
Calamities: So-called, “natural disasters.”
Paul THINKS IT WELL when he experiences all sorts of suffering. Paul would think it well if he had Covid-19.
I’ll repeat that… Paul would think it well to have Covid-19.
Why? Why would anyone think it well to be sick? Is he some kind of sadist or masochist?
Well… Paul answers the “why” question in clause three.
Clause #3: FOR (read “because”) when I am weak (in myself), then I am strong (in the Lord).
Paul delights in all sorts of evil because the experience of those evils tended to reveal and kill a GREATER form of evil, namely self-sufficiency.
I state that again… THE greatest evil is never suffering; THE greatest evil is always self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and self-trust (see Jeremiah 17:5-6).
Paul takes pleasure in suffering because it tended to kill SELF.
When self dies then robust trust and dependence on the Lord arises. When the Lord is trusted, relied upon, and sought it redounds to His glory.
Full circle then: when Paul is empty of self (engendered through suffering) he is full of reliance upon the Lord… to His glory and honor.
What about you? Would you be content with Covid-19? Do you see self-sufficiency as THE enemy of His glory and your good? Paul did.
May God grant us the same faith.
10,000 Blessings in THE Wonderful Counselor,