Sunday morning Norma Jean and I worshiped with the Henderson Boulevard brethren and I spoke at their 11:00 AM service. While I came to share a gospel message, I left feeling, as I often do, that I received more than I gave.
Henderson is a warm, caring and loving church. It’s led by men who really understand servant-leadership. And it is obvious there’s a close-knit fellowship among their spiritual family. One of their Shepherds, Ron Drumm, who served as their full-time preacher for over 20 years, spoke at the 9:00 AM communion service.
I’ve been reflecting upon Ron’s message, “From Weakness Comes Power” and want to share what I received from it. In a time when so much emphasis is placed upon strength, power and might, this is a much-needed lesson.
Ron’s text was 2 Corinthians 13:4. “For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.”
Jesus came to this earth as a man. Divinity put on humanity. He was born of a woman. Lived as we do. Suffered as we suffer. And was tempted as we are tempted. He gave up the privileges and prerogatives of Deity.
When it came time to offer Himself for the sins of the world, He voluntarily submitted Himself to the humiliation and excruciating pain of the cross. He died in weakness. But God used that occasion to demonstrate to a world impressed by military might that He had the power to overcome physical weakness. And so, as the apostle Paul put it, He was “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4).
When I come to the cross, see Christ and participate in communion with Him I’m reminded of my own weakness. My mistakes. My failures. My sinfulness. I am weaker than I care to admit both spiritually and physically. I am not self-sufficient. I can’t go it on my own. I lack the resources to overcome life’s troubles and trials by my own power.
Oh, for a little while, we may think we can do it by ourselves. But then we face some hurdle that hinders us. Sickness that weakens us physically. The death of a loved one that weakens us emotionally. A doubt that weakens us mentally. Or a spiritual temptation that weakens us spiritually.
Then I am reminded (again) how much I need God’s power.
When Paul suffered from his “thorn in the flesh.” He prayed three times for God to remove it. While we don’t know what the thorn was, we know it was hurting Paul. And He desired to have it removed.
God’s answer? “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Paul’s response? “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:7-10).
Paul had learned the lesson of Christ’s example. It is possible to find strength through weakness. The infirmities of the flesh don’t have to define who we are. They don’t have to discourage, demoralize, or depress us.
As someone who has now lived the Biblical “three score and ten” years, I realize more than ever the importance of finding power through weakness. Of relying on God’s grace. And of trusting in its sufficiency.
Regarding this paradox of Scripture pertaining to our lives, Ron Drumm affirmed, “You have to lose to win. You have to die to live. You have to give up all to gain all. You have to humble yourself to be exalted.”
Like Paul, we need to pray, then accept God’s gracious answer. But as P. T. Forsyth expressed it, “It is a greater thing to pray for pain’s conversion than its removal.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman