After the death of John the Baptist, Jesus withdrew to a solitary place, but the crowd followed Him there. As the evening drew near, the disciples expressed concern. “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late,” they said. “Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” They were stunned by Jesus’ reply. “They do not need to go away,” He told them. “You give them something to eat” (Matt. 14:13–17).
Some people like to say that God will never give us what we can’t handle. But those who follow Christ often feel like the circumstances they face are overwhelming. Paul had some remarkable spiritual experiences. In verses 2–4 he even speaks of visions, referring to himself in the third person to downplay the experience. But Paul also struggled with something he describes as a “thorn in the flesh” (v. 7). This unspecified affliction was so troubling that Paul begged God three times to remove it. Instead, the Lord replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9). Paul delighted in his weaknesses not because he enjoyed them but because God used them to display His power.
Paul closes his defense by proving his genuineness on two levels. He reminds the Corinthians that God had validated his apostolic ministry through “signs, wonders and miracles” (v. 12). But more than this, Paul revealed his true character by refusing to imitate the selfishness and arrogance of the false apostles, even though some in Corinth might have preferred it. “After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children,” he explains in verse 14.
>> The advice you have heard from well-meaning friends is wrong. God might give you more than you can handle. But God will never give you more than He can handle. Don’t be afraid of weakness. When you are weak, He is strong.
“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom. 5:3–4). We rejoice in our weakness, which magnifies Your strength!