Therefore, I will rather gladly boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may overshadow me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Boast – First, Paul entreats the Lord. We know what that means. It is parakaleo – to call for aid alongside. In one of those rare occurrences where the word is a synonym for proseuchomai (to pray), Paul tells us that three times he pleaded for aid. And then he received God’s triumphant answer, “My grace is sufficient.” Paul realizes that God’s answer requires a different kind of prayer – the prayer of boasting in his weakness.
The word is kauchaomai. It is almost always used in a bad sense, denoting that self-glorifying proclamation that accompanies arrogance and pride. Paul himself speaks against prideful boasting in Romans 3:27. His Jewish heritage reinforces this idea in Proverbs where the Hebrew equivalent is often ascribed to fools and the ungodly.
With this in mind, imagine how startling it is for Paul to say that he boasts! Is Paul a fool? The answer, of course, is, “Yes, I am a fool for Christ.” Paul takes a word that we would never have associated with godly attitudes and turns it upside-down. He shows us that when we have nothing of merit in ourselves, God uses our empty worthlessness for His glory. We can boast as fools, as long as we are boasting in the complete reversal of human effort brought about by the Lord.
What Paul discovered, and what we must also learn, is that prayer is often answered with foolishness. Prayer is not about me becoming stronger. It is about my weakness becoming the vehicle of God’s strength. I do not pray, “Lord, give me power.” I pray, “Lord, use my weakness to manifest Your power.”
“Lord, I am not able, but You are. I am not smart enough, but You know. I am not unwavering, but You are faithful. Lord, my weakness will overwhelm me unless You manifest Your grace. I am nothing without You, so use this weak servant who struggles just to be obedient as a vessel of Your glory. Let me never forget that my weakness is the sacred curse for Your purpose. And, Lord, let others see Your hand because they recognize my inability.”
It’s not about me. It will never be about me. That is why His grace does not repair my weaknesses. God is most glorified in my flaws.