“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. (2 Corinthians 12:9 )
I think we often forget that Christ can use our weaknesses to minister to others in the body of Christ and to others around us. We may think that our weaknesses disqualify us from ministry. I think of my own life and the place that I come from. Looking back over the past I see an abusive marriage of 30+ years, the loss of supportive and meaningful family relationships, depression and anxiety, loneliness and isolation. I see learned helplessness and a defeatist response to uncontrollable circumstances. Yet I find that I can still minister to others from these places of grayness and dinginess in my life. God still uses me.
Why is that? I think that 2 Corinthians 12:9 is a good answer. God doesn’t need us to be on top of the world to make a difference. We can look at some Biblical examples of Paul, Jeremiah, Elijah, and see that these men often ministered out of difficult situations and circumstances. Jeremiah lamented his whole existence before God. Elijah was triumphant one moment and then in abject depression the next. Paul declares in Second Corinthians that he is at his best when he is at his weakest because then it is God’s power at work.
God’s ways are not the ways of the world and we need to encourage ourselves in this fact and reality. God has not excluded us from ministry. In fact it is often our up and down experiences in life that birth places of ministry and encouragement to others inside and outside the body of Christ.