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At the Point of Weakness

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me … For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9, 10b).

I looked around the room at the Bible study I was teaching—eight faces, young and old, men and women, all Iranians from Muslim backgrounds, now eager to study the Bible. What an opportunity, with the very people I felt God called me to serve.

And yet … I was frustrated. I had been studying their language for over seven years. Shouldn't I be able to teach without a translator by now? Over the years I have spent countless hours with them. Shouldn’t I better understand their culture by now? Yet often things went right over my head. I was frustrated—so close to them and at the same time so far away.

In the midst of this, God began to meet me using a recurring motif in 2 Corinthians. What I had missed in my frustration was God’s way—He demonstrates His power not at the point of our strength, but at the point of our weakness (12:9–10). His power to change these people does not lie in my ability to speak their language or understand their culture but through my weakness. I have begun to realize that no matter how much of their language I learn or insight into their culture I acquire, I will always minister from a place of weakness. This is not a bad thing. More and more this is becoming the very basis of my hope and confidence—that God’s power will work in and through me, to bring about change in others.

Life-giving ministry comes through weakness and death. God's way is to use “jars of clay” to show His “all-surpassing power” (2 Cor. 4:7). Isn't that what I want? Isn't that ultimately why I am here as a missionary—to see God glorified in saving a people for Himself and by using weak “jars of clay” to do so? O God, teach me your ways.

*Chuck (last name withheld) serves in Muslim ministry with MTW. This was originally published in The Journey devotional. 

Chuck*, Reflection Apr 5, 2018
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