The God with Whom we Are Uncomfortable: a Boast


Gentle Reader,

I find myself extremely resistant to looking at the rest of the passage I spent the month of January memorizing. It’s hard enough to consider that some pain may be directly ordained by God, worse yet to know that He will use forces of evil to work His will in my life. That is beyond my understanding in more ways than one. The rest of verse 12, however, takes the cake:

Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9b (NKJV)

What the what?

The Greek gives no additional insight into this sentence. Paul is straight up saying that he’s going to revel in his weaknesses. He connects this acceptance and glorying in frailty to an outpouring of Christ’s strength.

I’d like to lodge a protest against this. Believing Scripture to be God-inspired doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with what it has to say. I’m supposed to accept and even enjoy the fact that I’m sick and sad? I’m supposed to be looking for ways in which God’s power works through me? Seriously?

And yet…

I can’t get on this boasting in weakness train, but I will say that there is a level of intimacy that I am experiencing with God that I would not otherwise know without this pain and illness. No, I am not hearing an audible voice and there are no burning bushes. I don’t suddenly understand everything in the Bible. This intimacy is built upon desperation. I must know God. I have to stick close to Him. I don’t have many illusions about my own strength left, and those that do remain are being systematically knocked down by a Divine hand.

So, maybe that’s what Paul is talking about. I can’t imagine that he was actually happy to be in pain, but maybe the pain led him to a new experience with God, a new level of relationship.

There are certain things I know for sure now that I didn’t before. God is intimately involved in our lives. He is always faithful and ever-loving. I need to memorize Scripture if I want to have any chance against the dark, irrational thoughts that come so easily. It’s vital to cling to what I know, rather than what I feel. Other things that I used to be so sure about, like my calling, where my life was headed and my own abilities, have fallen by the wayside. The place I find myself in is extremely uncomfortable, but that is somehow better than where I was before.

Til we meet again.

My journey to faith. (15)

  For all posts in the God with Whom we Are Uncomfortable series, go here.