Lent Devotional: 2 Corinthians 11:16-30
by Jonathan Haefs
2 Corinthians 11:16-30 (click here)
Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches…
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
(2 Corinthians 11:24-28 and 30)
Paul sure has a strange way of boasting.
Most of us boast in our strengths or things that make us appear important… like how busy we are. I often catch my children bragging to one another about ways they can outdo each other.
“I can hit a baseball farther!” // “I can ride horses better!” // “I’m Papa’s favorite!”
When it comes to boasting… we bring up everything that makes us feel and appear superior… but not Paul.
Paul goes low. He boasts in his weaknesses. Why?
Perhaps it is to show another’s strength. Perhaps it is specifically through all of the things that sap his strength that another’s strength must sustain him and can therefore be shown to the watching world.
As Paul is beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, in danger, and rejected, God sustains him and God is Paul’s boast! He boasts in his weaknesses that God’s greatness may be seen! He goes low so that God is lifted up!
What weaknesses do you have that may serve as ways in which God displays his strength through you? How can you boast in your weaknesses? How can you go low that God may be lifted up in your life?