Published by Barnabas International • PO Box 11211 • Rockford, IL 61126 • Volume XXV • No. 2 February 2011
LAREAU LINDQUIST, Founder, Senior Associate <> PERRY BRADFORD, Executive Director
The Apostle Paul boldly stated . . . WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG. (II Corinthians 12:10). What does he mean? Is he stating a vague, elusive theory? Is he talking about a possibility, a probability, or neither? Is he speaking of a reality . . . an experience that is within reach for us Christians living in 2011?
This phrase must be grasped within the larger context of II Corinthians 12. Paul openly and candidly speaks of his thorn in the flesh. He doesn't explain what the thorn was. But he lets us know that it was severe . . . and it tormented him (v 9). It was sufficiently severe so he prayed . . . he pleaded (v/8) . . . three times that God would remove it. He knew that God's power could easily do that. So he prayed and he waited. Let's listen to their conversation:
• God's response was . . . My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (verse 9).
• Paul's response to God was . . . Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG (verses 9-10).
He truly believed and discovered it to be true. He states this discovery elsewhere in his writings . . .
• Philippians 4:13 . . . I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength.
• Romans 8:37 . . . We are more than conquerors through Him (in every situation).
In our last trip to India, two months ago, I was blessed to discover the reality of Paul's discovery. I hesitate to tell you but it might help you to more readily discover the truth and dynamism of Paul's discovery and mine also. When I left Rockford to go to India, I hadn't felt very good for several weeks.. Evie urged me to not go to India at this time. I went to my doctor and he gave me a thorough physical, including chest x-rays, a heart EKG, and lots of other tests. He said I was fine. Don't you kinda hate when the doctor says you are fine but you don't feel fine. You kinda hate it and yet you kinda like it. So I left for India and I met my Barnabas colleague, Ron Frost, in New Delhi. During our second conference in Gujarat, I still didn't feel well. In fact, Ron offered to take my teaching times but I kept saying, "I'll take another one" and then another one until we finished the conference. After one evening session, he said, "You surely preached well tonight. Nothing seemed to hinder you. You rose above your limitations." I was shocked. Surprised. Indeed it felt like a swift arrow of biblical truth had struck me, I said it. I believed it. I knew it . . . in the depths of my soul . . . WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG. I've preached that text before . . . And I have had those similar times when my energy was spent. This time it was not in the abstract. And I knew, that the Lord had taken over. I sensed what Paul was talking about in II Corinthians 12:9. Hear it again, WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG.
DAVID, too, discovered the strength of God to do what God had called him to do. One of the most dominant themes in the writing of David was the strength of the Lord at work in him and through him . . .. He discovered God's strength in the typical days of life. He also discovered God's strength for the very toughest segments of life. King Saul was furious to discover that God had chosen a new king. Saul's reign was soon to be over. David would take his place. Saul now had one singular purpose that drove him. It was to find David and to kill him. One of David's hiding places was in the Desert of Ziph. One day, his friend, Jonathan persisted in searching for David. When he found him, the Bible says, Jonathan helped him find strength in the Lord . . . I Samuel 23:15-16). David, at another time of tension and stress,. . .he found strength in the Lord his God (I Samuel 30:6). Another translation states that . . . David strengthened himself in the Lord.
How is it with you, my friend . . . in times past . . . maybe right now. Are you building a reservoir of God's strength? Have you ever discovered the reality of His strength at your point of weakness?
Founder, Senior Associate
Receive an email when a new letter is posted.