2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Brothers and sisters:
That I, Paul, might not become too elated,
because of the abundance of the revelations,
a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan,
to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ;
for when I am weak, then I am strong.
The above passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is a puzzle and a seeming contradiction, for how can power be made perfect in weakness?
The answer is in the sentence from which the phrase is lifted. The complete sentence reads:
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
In other words, instead of asking that we be spared life’s inevitable problems, challenges and tragedies — the nefarious consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin — we are told to trust in God and to turn to Him for help. And when we do that, God will manifest His power in us, and we will find strength and fortitude, for “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). His power will be made perfect in our weakness.
The post that immediately precedes this post is an example.
The past year of COVID-19 quarantines and lockdowns had exacted a terrible toll not just in business closures and unemployment, but also on our mental health. According to Harvard Medical School professor David H. Rosmarin:
- The incidence of mental disorders increased by 50%.
- Alcohol and other substance abuse surged.
- Young adults were more than twice as likely to seriously consider suicide than they were in 2018.
The only group whose mental health actually improved during the past year were those who attended religious services at least weekly, in-person or online. 46% of religious Americans said their mental health was “excellent” — an increase of 4% from a year ago.
Pretty amazing, isn’t it.