The Apostle Paul experienced the height of revelation, being taken up to the third heaven, caught up to paradise. He also experienced a depth of weakness that God refused to remove. Paul’s conclusion was that the weakness was needed for him to remain humble. Jesus did however give Paul this assurance: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
It’s never a question of “if” you have weakness in your marriage. It’s always a question of “how” you are responding to that weakness.
The sufficiency of grace enables each spouse to tap into the power of God. Learning how to cooperate with the perfecting of this power is the key to personal & marital strength. Grace filled marriages will be sufficiently strengthened to go the distance.
Paul’s response gives us two keys of appropriation. “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (v.9-10)
The keys are: boasting about our weakness, and, finding contentment in living for Christ’s sake.
Boasting in this case is not a prideful, competitive attitude but rather a rejoicing in the nearness of God and the comfort of the Spirit. It’s my deciding to “glory” or “rejoice” in my weakness. “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance.” (Romans 5:3)
When a spouse tells me they’re not sure if the marriage can endure, I ask them if they’re cooperating with the production of endurance.
The Romans chapter five progression is a centuries old and tested path: suffering – endurance – character – hope- and hope does not disappoint. When my hope is faltering I trace back my steps. In the endurance, I encounter Jesus in a new and living way.
Contentment is learned in difficult times as we discover the meaning of living “for Christ’s sake.” When I find myself battling with feeling unfulfilled or borderline depressed, it generally stems from my living “for Mike’s sake.”
Later in the epistle, Paul is speaking to the church about Jesus: “He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.” (13:3-4)
I want Jesus to deal with me. It’s such a safe place to be. I’m left with greater humility and a quiet strength.
Crucified in weakness and living by the power of God – sounds like a winning marriage plan to me!