It might not be exactly aligned but I think it is applicable.
The “weakness” Paul recounts to the Corinthians in 2Corinthians 11:24-28 had to do with what he endured as a messenger of the gospel. Things which, for those who were cared about building themselves a platform and a following, demonstrated that he was anything but a “super-apostle” (2Cor. 11:5). Forty lashes five times. Three times beaten with rods. Once stoned, three times shipwrecked. In danger from rivers and robbers and relatives. In danger, seemingly, wherever he went. Constant stress, sleepless nights, and “the daily pressure” of his “anxiety for all the churches.” All indicators of weakness in a world that viewed ease, popularity, and power as the signs of winning.
For many of us, our weakness isn’t in what we endure externally as we seek to follow Jesus but more in the “beatings” we take internally. Many times, lashed with doubts. Often beaten with disillusionment. Pelted sometimes with despondency. In danger of being sucked into depression. Resulting in seasons of constant stress, sleepless nights, and a daily pressure even as we seek to serve the church. Like I said, not really the same as Paul. Nevertheless, I think Paul’s view of his weakness can be applicable to ours.
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
(2Corinthians 11:30 ESV)
Paul didn’t want to be braggy. He wasn’t looking for glory. Wasn’t wanting a pat on the back. Yet, he felt cornered into a defense of his ministry by church people who were being attracted to false apostles who were building themselves up by tearing Paul down. And so, “since many boast according to the flesh”, Paul did too (2Cor. 11:18). Yet, boasting in the weakness of the flesh.
I know that in the next chapter Paul will connect the dots between the weakness of his flesh, the all-sufficient grace of His God, and the power made perfect in weakness (2Cor. 12:9), but for now I’m chewing on just being okay with my weakness.
Even though, as I press on to be faithful, I would like to feel like I was doing so more from a position of strength and victory, can I be okay boasting of the things that show my weakness? Less concerned about how “super” I feel in myself, but resting in doing what I think God wants me to do, trusting that He’ll do it through me even as I struggle internally as I do it?
I don’t like operating from a place of weakness. And my “weakness” has no comparison to Paul’s. Yet, I serve a God who’s been known to “chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” so that “no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1Cor. 2:25-29). So, I’ll continue to try and serve faithfully even amidst the awareness of my own frailty.
Only by His grace. Only for His glory.