Paul said of a conversation he had with God about his thorn in the flesh:
“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 Cor. 12:9-10
Why do we delight in our weakness, hardships, difficulties?
James put it this way:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
At this time of year, our weaknesses seem so big. We want to make resolutions, but we see our list of failures from last year. We made a resolution five days ago, and we’ve already broken it.
I wanted to make it through the Bible last year, but only made it 3/4 of the way through. Rather than making a huge issue over it, I’ve just changed my plan a bit. Over Thanksgiving I gained 5 pounds then lost them. Over Christmas I gained three. I’ll lose them, and hopefully a lot more.
Joy is an important part of adversity, because keeping a positive attitude is the first step in overcoming obstacles. Obstacles will either be your opportunities or they will sink you – and it starts with your attitude. Can we trust God in all the things this new year has to offer – from world changes to our own frail humanity?
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb. 4:15-16)
Jesus is waiting to walk each step of the new year. No matter the challenges, we will find Christ is more than able to help us, and He has sent the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us. God is our help. That is the secret of Paul’s words. In our weakness, He is strong.