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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Power In Weakness

“…Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for [my] power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.”

– 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 (NRSV) [1]

Surprised, was an understatement.

I couldn’t believe what he just said! My friend had just told me how he struggles with a sense of inadequacy.

He is a highly gifted and compassionate leader. Anyone who would observe him would say he’s competent, skilled, talented, insightful, and engaging. He’s the type of person that people gravitate toward.

“I’ve always struggled with an “underdog” mentality,” he told me. His story caused me to think.

An outward persona can be deceptive. It’s difficult to know how individuals feel about themselves. I know that’s the case for me.

As many years as I’ve been in ministry, as often as I speak and write, it’s common for me to view others more qualified and capable than me.

“Certainly, there are others who are more knowledgeable about this subject; more skilled as a speaker; more trained as a writer; more… more… more!”

Familiar with my own internal critic, I work hard to turn down the volume of its voice that shouts that I’m good enough, smart enough, or capable! My inner censor’s message is intended to focus on my attention on my “false” identity so that I’m distracted from my “true” uniqueness.

We want to “overcome” a sense of unworthiness. We desire others to see us as knowledgeable, fit, and worthy. However, in our efforts to silence the voice of our internal critic, it’s common to emulate others whom we see as successful and miss our God-given uniqueness.

You – and your story – are an irreplaceable blessing!

Your unique perspectives and experiences are valuable to others.

The Apostle Paul was a powerful and influential figure. He was instrumental in introducing the Gentile world to the claims of Christ. However, he also struggled with a sense of weakness.

Some theologians would like to argue that his “thorn in the flesh” was a physical ailment (and it may have been). However, regardless of his limitation (physical or emotional):

Paul discovers that embracing his weakness gives him power!

It’s essential that we silence our internal critic! For when we do, we discover our “true self,” our uniqueness, and the power to embrace our weakness.

Accepting my feeling of inadequacy rather than fighting it, encourages appropriate humility and strengthens my faith that God can – and does – work with flawed, imperfect, insufficient, and inadequate humanity.

And that, my friend, is liberating and miraculous!


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), 2 Co 12:7–10.

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