Bragging on God's Love and My Weakness

The Apostle Peter remarked that he and the Apostle Paul taught the same things about the Lord’s patience and Love for us, but that Paul’s “letters contain some things that are hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:16).

One of those hard to understand things (for me, anyway) was Paul’s “foolish” and “prideful boasting” in his second letter to the Corinthians (11:1-12:21).  He says, speaking ironically, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” (11:30), and, 

“…for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I understand that better now, having learned to accept my frailties and physical difficulties, some resulting from being mostly dead for a while, a little more than four years ago, and some from being alive thru physically tough times for about 67 years, and some from doing stupid stuff in most of those years (more about those elsewhere on this site, if you’re interested).

But it is strange to think that the humbling weakness of not being able to move, sometimes, without involuntary moans and groans and simply being unable to do things I used to do both routinely and well can be something to “boast” about. It’s strange that I understand that my utter dependence on God’s grace and sustainment is something to celebrate… but, because of that grace, I’ve gotten there.

Valentine’s day being yesterday, there were probably a few more than the usual daily average of weddings, and therefore a few more than the already high-number of readings of another, more famous bit of writing from Paul:  the “Love” chapter – 1 Corinthians 13.  That one seems easier to understand, but if you think it’s about romantic love, you haven’t. 

It’s about God, for as Peter and many others have said: “God is Love!”

Love others as He Loves us:  patiently; kindly; without envy; without boasting or pride (which is to say: humbly); honorably, unselfishly; amiably; without expectations or resentments; honestly and wholesomely; protectively; hopefully; persistently. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Whatever strengths and gifts of grace we’ve been given to carry us thru our lifetimes on this earth will fail, eventually.  We will be parted from those we love the most, here.  It will come down to us leaving and failing them, or they failing us by leaving us here without them.

But God’s love will never fail, and the hope that arises from that fact and our faith in it and Him need not ever fail, either.

Now, that’s something “to brag about” (2 Corinthians 11:1).