7 I was given a thorn in my body because of the outstanding revelations I’ve received so that I wouldn’t be conceited. It’s a messenger from Satan sent to torment me so that I wouldn’t be conceited.
8 I pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me alone. 9 He said to me, “My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness.” So I’ll gladly spend my time bragging about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power can rest on me. 10 Therefore, I’m all right with weaknesses, insults, disasters, harassments, and stressful situations for the sake of Christ, because when I’m weak, then I’m strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, CEB
A few days ago, I wrote about a situation where a friend of mine got back at his employer (over a firing) by writing a nasty blog post that went viral. I described how this seems like an attempt to “grab power” and refuse to acknowledge and embrace weakness. I believe Paul’s words here would serve as a nice counter-point to that mentality. Again, I find my friend’s actions totally understandable. I probably would have done the same, if not worse. But it seems like an opportunity for a good learning lesson, so we’re examining it to learn from it, not to kick the poor guy while he’s down.
When I wrote about my friend, I didn’t do so from a place of judgment so much as one of observation. I feel like I can say this honestly because I’m willing to examine myself in the same way. I have never done anything so drastic as to cause a national stir (primarily because nobody would be interested in anything I have to say on a national level), but I do practice variations of this mentality.
It’s so common to “grab power” in relationships whether it’s in the workplace, the home, or with friends. I do it all the time and usually only realize it in the aftermath. I’ll argue with mom over feedback she gives me on my preparation of a message, or the devotionals, or a class I’ve taught, or a book I’m writing, or how I’ve handled a board meeting. Sometimes I’m simply defending myself and sometimes I take shots back. Taking shots is a power grab. I do this at home with Brittany. We’ll get in a tiff over something and, eventually, we’ll take shots at each other. We’re power grabbing.
How do we not power-grab? Well, I guess Paul is saying by learning to de-prioritize power/strength and to embrace and accept our limitations and weaknesses. We don’t do this just because weakness is inevitable, but also because God seems to favor the weak and seems particularly fond of bestowing his power on those at the edge of their own human limits.
In other words, when we are weak, then there is God.