Strength for Your Struggle
"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)
Being a single parent when my son was young was difficult on many levels. Most of the time I felt tired and overwhelmed by all my responsibilities. There was no one to share concerns with—no one to worry with, plan with, or give a bath to my son when I needed a break.
To make matters worse, we lived in an upstairs duplex. When my son was a baby, it was a challenge getting him, his diaper bag and the groceries upstairs at the same time. I didn't want to leave him in the house or the car alone so I piled on the items. Once I climbed to the top of the stairs, my next challenge was unlocking the door with my arms filled to overflowing.
Most days I felt like the whole world rested on my shoulders. While I tried to carry the load, I was too weak. It was crushing me, and yet, I continued to fight. I tried harder. I had to. I had to be strong. If I put down the load, who was going to pick it up?
One day, I came across our key verse: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Hope awoke in my heart when I realized my situation was an avenue to experience God's strength. I didn't have to put on a brave face, or pretend to be made of steel. I simply needed to surrender my weaknesses to God in exchange for His strength.
This is what Paul did in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. He prayed repeatedly about a difficult situation in his life, asking the Lord to take it from him. God responded, "My grace is sufficient."
I discovered God answered me in the same way He did Paul when I shared my struggles with Him. God didn't expect me to parent alone, but gave me His strength in my weaknesses. He promised, "that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Corinthians 12:9). That promise is yours, too.
An interesting way to view His power is by taking a look at this verse in it's original Greek. The word "rest" literally means "a tent or covering." Christ's power over our circumstances and in our weaknesses is a shelter in which to rest, take refuge from the storms, and is our protective covering.
God's grace—His loving-kindness, joy, and strength—was enough for Paul, and it's enough for you and me.
When I began praying to God about my situation asking for help, my circumstances didn't change right away. But I had a renewed sense of God's presence and power in my life, and no longer felt alone. Through the assistance of others, I began to see God's activity in the life of my son and me. He had always been there offering help. I just needed to swallow my pride and receive it. When I let my friend cut my grass and the teenager next door play with my son so I could do household chores, I felt equipped to press on with all the other challenges of daily life.
That's not all. Paul not only surrendered his struggles to God, but he had a positive attitude as well: "I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Looking for and acknowledging God's strength in my weakness was better for my attitude than grumbling. Complaining was a dead end. However, boasting in what God can do in me infused my faith, causing me to depend on His strength more and more. His promise became a reality in my life. For when I am weak, He is strong!
In facing our struggles and fears, it's vital that we yield completely to God. When we do, God can use our burdens as an avenue for His power and grace.
Dear Lord, thank You that You are all I need. Today, I confess my weakness and surrender my situation to You. Fill me with Your power and grace. In Jesus' Name, amen.
Reflect and Respond:
What burden are you facing alone today? Consider how God's strength can help you cope with your responsibilities.
In what ways is God's power covering you? Who can you reach out to for help?
Proverbs 17:22, "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." (ESV)
Ephesians 3:16, "I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit." (NLT)