Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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. 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.”  (2 Corinthians 12:7b-10) ~Paul the apostle  

There are days, weeks, lifetimes that I feel overwhelmed by my weaknesses. My sins. Regrets.

And I think how in the world could I ever expect God to use someone like me?  

I have nothing. I am wholly inadequate. I live with daily constraints of fatigue and pain. I am constantly thinking and saying and doing things I don’t want to. Things that are contrary to the nature of a loving and forgiving and gracious God.  I look at who I am and I’m disappointed.  How could God not be?

If I were Him I’d run in the other direction in search of someone better.

But here’s the thing: I’m not God – praise the Lord.

And here’s the other thing – I may be inadequate, I may be sinful, but I love my Jesus.

It’s those very weaknesses that had me running to Him in the first place, and keep me running back because I know how much I need Him.

Spending time with my gracious Lord brings into focus even more how great He is and it is humbling. I compare myself to Him and I see how short I come up in the godliness department. My weaknesses and sins are more evident when I’m in His presence.

And I see again just how very much I need my Father.

When I need Him I call on Him to do in and through me what I never could. I leave room for Him to do the miraculous, because I need a miracle, every single day.  

There are those who would have Christians believe God doesn’t want any of His children to be sick. I would refer them to Paul. And there are those who believe their sickness must mean they are being punished by God. I would again refer them to Paul, and Job, and the many others who found themselves weak in some way, yet we clearly see God’s hand was on them.

Yes, God heals. Yes, God still does miracles. When it suits His purposes.  

But don’t limit God.  God uses all kinds of people in all kinds of circumstances for all kinds of things.

Our weaknesses, whatever they may be, don’t disqualify us from being used by God. In fact they can be the road leading right to it. 

We are all weak in some way, most of us in many ways. 

The world tells us Be strong!  Be powerful.  In doing that we refuse the power of God in our lives, and we remain in our weakness.

But acknowledging our weaknesses, taking them to the throne room of God and putting our life in His hands out of sheer desperation, knowing we have nothing good in and of ourselves, is the very thing that will make us useful.  He’s then able to fill us with His strength and do great things through us, not because of who we are, but in spite of it.

And all the glory is His.

The prayers prayed out of desperation tend to be stripped of all pretense.  The mask comes off, the formality is laid aside, and we get real with God. That kind of realness leads to an authentic, personal relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Our Abba.  And that unleashes His power in us.  

It’s not the strength of our bodies, or the intelligence of our minds, or the skill of our hands.  

It’s the willingness of our hearts. 

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9