The images Paul uses to show weakness are two: one, he speaks of “treasure in jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7) and “a thorn in my flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Both these images are used to show that God’s power is made available to us in our weakness. It warns us that nothing much of value is achieved for God’s kingdom when we labour in the ability of our human wisdom, talent or energy. To make lasting impact for eternity, we need to be made weak so that God can fill us with His power.
Dear child of God, do not mourn that you have been made weak today. Perhaps loss of health, criticism by friends and relatives, no secure income, relentless pressure on your mind; all are used by God to make you weak. This is so that you will not rely on yourself but God. Sometimes great spiritual victories need to be balanced by a thorn in the flesh. Though we do not know what it exactly was for Paul, the point is that God permitted it in the life of Paul so that he will not become proud and lose his love for God, his ministry and his usefulness.
But God does not leave you alone in your weakness. He gives you grace. Grace is the enabling power of God in your life. Though made weak, you are enabled to do what God wants you to do by His strength alone. But that grace is made available to you only when you are made aware that you are weak. And God uses a variety of instruments, circumstances and people to accomplish that goal. Through them His power is made perfect in your weakness. So do not lose heart. His grace is available to you. The difficulties you are passing through are not a sign of God’s anger; but His favour towards you.
Your weakness is primarily because you are a jar of clay. We are made out of the dust of the ground. Yet God has entrusted the gospel to you. Let its light shine. The jars may break like how the jars were broken by the men of Gideon’s army. When the jars were broken the light of the torches within flamed brightly (Judges 7:16, 19, 20). Yes, the jars had to be broken before the light could shine forth and a great victory be won. So also with you, dear servant of God. Your body is but a jar of clay. But the value of the light within you that reflects the glory of God is what counts.
This is to show you that “this all-surpassing power is from God” (2 Corinthians 4:7) and not from you. Like Christ who was crucified in weakness but living by God’s power (2 Corinthians 13:4), you also will live by God’s power made perfect in your weakness. Paul prayed that you might know this great power of God. He calls it the “incomparably great power” which God exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead (Ephesians 1:19, 20). Yes dear friend, that is the same power that is available to you and is in work in you. So cheer up, the light of the gospel shines out to others in power. It surprises others to see that such great power is given to you even when you are weak.