2 Corinthians 4: 7
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 12: 5; 7-10
I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses....Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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. 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.
Every night I go through a similar routine. I get ready for bed, brush my teeth and, just before I turn the light off, I plug in my mobile phone to charge it for the next morning. I have most likely been using it all day, the battery is depleted if not empty, so I plug it into the power source. I never plug in my phone for charging when the power is full. That would be pointless. The power is only needed when the battery is empty.
In the same way, over the past few days we have been thinking about how God loves to pour His power into our weakness. That our weakness is not an embarrassment, but an invitation to God to show Himself strong on our behalf. That His 'all-surpassing power' is often hidden in clay pots and is released through our weakness and frailty.
You see, we serve a God who is great at recycling our pain. God takes our struggle and turns it into a strength. He takes our brokenness and transforms it into something beautiful. He takes our pain and uses it powerfully to impact others. Often the thing we are trying to hide from the world is the very thing He wants to use to change our world.
What I have discovered in my own life, is that people nearly always relate much more to my weakness than my strength. There's a connection that happens when we are willing to be vulnerable and open about the places where we don't have it all together. When we expose the pain of our past, it can become the platform for releasing others into their future. Our hurt holds the key to our harvest.
Many of us will be familiar with Christine Caine. As a young girl she was sexually abused by a number of different men and as a result grew up filled with shame, rejection, insecurity and anger. However, in spite of her past, today Christine is a highly sought-after international speaker, pastor and evangelist. In 2008 she founded A21, an anti-human trafficking organisation dedicated to abolishing injustice in the 21st century. They now have offices and restoration facilities in 11 countries and have reached millions of people through their awareness campaign. Christine Caine's weakness and pain has become her greatest gift to the world.
In 2 Cor 4: 7, Paul says: "...we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." That little phrase 'all-surpassing', simply means 'it goes longer' or 'it reaches further'. In other words, if we were to lay all of our weakness and pain out and then lay beside it the power of God, His power would be longer, it would go further. It can redeem any past, restore any brokenness, release any oppression, overcome any weakness, fill any emptiness, heal any wounds, bring life to any deadness.
Elsewhere, Paul says, that God's power is made perfect in our weakness. His strength is found most fully in all of our fragility and uncertainty. This goes against conventional human wisdom which seeks to hide, remove or cover our weakness. As Christine Caine honestly admits: "It certainly has been the fight of my life to get to the place of trusting God to redeem the broken pieces of my past for his glory."
Your story may be different, but His power is the same. Give Him your weakness, fragility, pain and brokenness and ask Him to fill it with His all-surpassing power, to redeem it for His glory and to use you in bringing healing and hope to others who will always identify more with your weaknesses than your strengths.
We would love you to join us this Sunday at 9.30 am, 11.30 am and 7.00 pm.