“My Strength Is Made Perfect in Weakness”

2 Corinthians 12:9  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
When God makes:: strength perfect in weakness, the question comes, Who is the doer of everything? This took place in Paul when he was first converted; this was the principle he was first put on: Paul, you are not to trust to your own strength, or wisdom, or anything, but you are to trust Me. Paul got locked up in prison, and despaired of life, but it was not God's thought that His apostle should be stopped. When he was quietly conning over it all, he said, I had the "sentence of death" in myself. Paul had be-tore him the God that raised up the Lord Jesus Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 1:99But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: (2 Corinthians 1:9).).
Was it a great thing for the God who had raised the Lord Jesus and who had shone down into Paul's heart to open his prison bars? Christ was crucified in weakness; He lives by the power of God—strength made perfect in weakness. The expression at the dose of verse 9, "rest upon me," should be "tabernacle upon me." The thought conveyed to my soul is a reference to God dwelling in a pillar of fire, and the cloud keeping company with people all through their tourney in the wilderness.
Paul was to go forth as one who had no strength, but as one whose weakness is used of God for the display of His glory. It was there we find Paul singing a song over Satan: "I rather glory in my infirmities." He finds that he can bear nothing of himself—perfect weakness.
But now he has got the secret of victory from the Lord, and he can sing a song over his weakness and over Satan.
He finds Satan's work has been turned into his good, and the Lord has allowed it all for his blessing.
Now the question is, Will Christ's arm be always underneath me? Will He always tabernacle over me? Will He never fail me? Shall I be always able to sing this song? This is the principle of resurrection which quiets and gives peace. Paul was to wear it inside him all day long through his whole course. Resurrection must be applied to our every circumstance. "Crucified with Christ," "quickened us together," "raised us up together, and made us sit together." Through all his life Paul was to take this principle into his bosom: resurrection, strength made perfect in weakness.
I have often thought of the wilderness through which God brought Israel. His eye was on the wilderness. He prepared it. In substance He says, I have made the place for a particular purpose in connection with My people; I have arranged it long ago. The wilderness was no accident; it was the very place God had prepared. There were no resources to nature; absolute dependence upon God was there. And God has made and marked out your circumstances, and has so made them that you cannot go through them without Himself. Some may say in reference to their path that this thing came upon me through the sin of someone else. Never mind that; it came from God. Neither divine wisdom nor power could have added anything to the wilderness to have made it more impassable to nature or more easy to God.
He allows a quantity of things in our circumstances to make us feel we cannot go through them without Him. What an immense difference in saying that this thing comes from God and He has put it there, and saying all this is against me. If it is God and myself there is no difficulty, but if we leave Him out, the way is impassable. Which would you rather have: a life without difficulty, or a life so full of difficulty that the blessed Lord Jesus is obliged to show His face every day? Yes, every minute He is obliged to keep close to me all day long.
God so ordered the course of the Apostle Paul that it was impossible to get on without the Lord Jesus who raises the dead. This does not merely apply to moral difficulties, but to everything. There is someone sick in the house; who do you turn to first, God or the doctor? When the doctor thinks it a serious case, you take it as a decision, but the question is not what the doctor says, but what is God's purpose? Means may be used, but the Christian is not to use anything apart from God—the Lord first in everything.
Praise never comes forth from us so purely as it does in connection with what is disagreeable. When we give thanks for mercies, it is not so pure as when able to praise for what we do not like. We should be dropping the sweet into the disagreeable. When we think of the Lord's love in it, it sweetens what is bitter.
The life of Paul was a wonderful life. "To me to Live is Christ." The way he did run his course brought out the fellowship of the life of Christ. He had in Caesar's court the very life the Lord Jesus had on the Father's throne. It is wonderful, and all on the principle of "My grace is sufficient for thee.”
G. V. Wigram