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.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
A few weeks ago, my husband Joel brought to my attention that Jesus’s disciples often serve as excellent reminders that it’s okay to be human, even as believers in Christ.
We read in Matthew 26:36-46 that when Jesus went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane shortly before he was to be delivered to the death of the cross, He asked three of His disciples (Peter, James, and John) to stay and pray with Him in His distress. Three times He asked them to pray, and three times they fell asleep instead. These men who knew Him, touched Him, walked and talked with Him, and heard Him preach and teach firsthand, could not stay awake – right there, a few feet from the physical presence of the Son of God – to watch and pray with Him for one hour that night.
Even in His presence, the disciples struggled sometimes with the disciplines and practices of their faith in Christ and in the Heavenly Father. They were notoriously imperfect, and they often just didn’t “get it.” Yet, Jesus loved them, He stuck it out with them, He restored them, and He used them to start His church. The same Peter who in Matthew 16:21-23 tried to tell Jesus not to die for our sins and earned the original “Get behind me Satan” treatment from the Lord and Savior Himself – when filled with the Holy Spirit, preached a sermon that led 3,000 people to salvation through faith in Christ (Acts 2:14-41) followed by many other great deeds of faith that have been recorded, for all time, in God’s Word.
When I feel like I’ve failed God, failed to understand His will, and struggle to imagine how He could possibly use me to work the perfect plan He has laid out for His children, I like to think of the disciples – and especially Peter, who once put on his clothes before throwing himself into the sea to get to Jesus (John 21:7) – as reminders that flawed humans are exactly who Christ chooses to work with and to walk with. He sees us for what we are meant to be in Him. He will stick it out with us, restore us, and gladly use us to build His kingdom. We may feel imperfect and ill-equipped for this life, but we are enough for Him, and He is more than enough for us.
2 Corinthians 12:6-10 (NIV)
6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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. 10 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.
A prayer for my friends:
Thank You for seeing us for all that we are, rather than for our shortcomings. When we feel discouraged in our mess-ups and failures, help us to remember that You are here to meet us where we are, and to walk us through to the great plans You have laid out before us in the grand perspective of Your Heavenly Kingdom. Thank You for reminding us that when we feel as though we are not enough, we are better able to see that You are more than enough.
It’s in Jesus’ name we pray.