Week 21 Saturday

Strength Through Weakness

Today’s scripture selection: Second Corinthians 11-13

Key verse: Second Corinthians 12:9


     When the apostle Paul spoke about his desire to be free of some affliction that burdened him, he revealed a message he had received from God.  Here’s how the King James translation puts it:

     “And he said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’”

     That rather cryptic message as to why Paul had not been relieved of his “thorn in the side” has both puzzled and comforted many Christians over the ages.

     We often can’t understand why a loving God allows us to suffer something.  But we can appreciate that we are in some very good company as we suffer.  Saints and sinners alike have known what it is to have to somehow bear up under the “unbearable.”  How do they – how do we – do it?

     Paul answers that question for us.  We don’t – God does.

     In our brokenness; our failure; our confusion; our need –

God somehow takes that weakness – and works within in for some great purpose.

     It isn’t that He doesn’t care.  It isn’t that He is too busy to be bothered.  It is that He has some goal in it all that will ultimately benefit us – and bring glory to Him.

     Having been a hospital chaplain, I know that this truth doesn’t always offer much comfort.  More than once, I have had to simply sit, wordless, with someone experiencing unspeakable pain.

     On the other hand, I can honestly say, that often it does bring comfort.  Faced with the seeming unbearable – we find in God to do just that – bear it.  And somehow, oddly, that does bring hope and peace.

     Maybe it is the simple truth that God is with us in our pain.  And that itself is enough.


Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray for those who suffer, often without understanding why.  May your peace that passes all understanding bring them comfort and hope, especially in their time of weakness.  AMEN.



By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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