Tag Archive for 2 Corinthians 12:9

My Weakness Glorifies God

It’s Sunday morning, and I’m doing last minute preparations to teach my Sunday School class again. I can’t help but wonder why God uses such a highly-imperfect method for communicating His perfect truth to His precious people. I have so many weaknesses in both my understanding and my ability to communicate. All we human creatures do. All we who communicate God’s truth are deeply flawed in many ways. Why would He entrust His precious Word to us?

The question reminds me that all-wise, all-powerful God seems to prefer to do His work through His creatures. And this seems to be part of His overall desire to incarnate Himself – to make His transcendent perfection flesh and blood. He incarnated Himself perfectly in His Son Jesus, but throughout our history, before and since Christ, He has sought to incarnate Himself by filling His human creatures with His own divine Spirit, His own life.

Again, why would a perfect God choose to reveal Himself so imperfectly? I don’t pretend to have all the answers to that, but I see part of His purpose explained in His Word:

We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves. (2 Corinthians 4:7, NASB)

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 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. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NASB)

When God has a Jericho to conquer or a Goliath to defeat or a fiery furnace to be faced, He chooses someone small and weak who is simply willing to trust and obey Him. That way it is obvious to everyone that the one acting is not the weak human creature, but the all-powerful Creator.

Or to bring it back around to my personal situation, my weakness glorifies God. When God’s beautiful, life-giving truth comes from my mouth, however imperfectly, it is plain to all who hear that the truth they are hearing is His, not mine.

I still catch myself wanting to appear strong, bright, and eloquent. But that’s not the truth, and that’s not how I can glorify God the best. People don’t need me. They need Him. As John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30, NASB).

Yes, I do everything I can to prepare and deliver His message with the passion and clarity it deserves. How could I do anything less? But I can’t hide the truth: anything worthwhile that comes out of my mouth is from Him, not me. Even in my smallness and ignorance I can show people how good and great and present He is. How wonderful is that?

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Not I, but Christ
Printed Music & Lyrics


Need has come to bless us once again.
Heaviness and grief descend
to lift our load of self-deceit.
They shine their light to show us just
how vast our insufficiency,
how constant our inconstancy,
how fragile our illusions of well-being and control.

silent whispers from a Friend –
Remember Me?
Come and rest in Me again.”

My Lord, I praise You
for the longing of this moment’s need.
Let it remain —
not the need, but the neediness,
the neediness for You.
Let it stretch and spread
through all I think I can and cannot do.
Let it reach for You
and all You are,
for all Your life and love can be in me.

For the plenty of Your presence,
let the hunger,
let the neediness remain.

My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.
(2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV)

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Back to You
Printed Music & Lyrics

A Study in Failure, Part 6

In response to God’s call, we had published a line of pocketsize books for evangelism and spiritual growth. Sales never grew strong enough to sustain the company, and we had to quit selling the books after ten years. But God miraculously fulfilled His calling and purpose through us, getting many thousands of books into the hands of soldiers, inmates, and hungry readers in poorer countries around the world. (See “A Study in Failure, Part 1”; “A Study in Failure, Part 2”; “A Study in Failure, Part 3”; “A Study in Failure, Part 4”; “A Study in Failure, Part 5”.)

The company that God had called us to start, Living the Natural Way, didn’t die when we stopped selling physical product. We simply switched our focus to online resources, especially hymns. Back when I was still in my 20’s, God had called me to write hymns. Throughout all the seasons of my life, He had kept His thumb in my back regarding that call. Now, with the pocketsize books having run their course, He had freed me to focus on my first love: hymns.

Today, the website that started as LNWbooks.com is now LNWhymns.com. It currently offers 420 of my hymns, with 355 of them recorded, plus a variety of companion resources. Everything on the site is free. We have returning visitors from all fifty states and 135 countries.

In spite of all the red ink generated by the pocketsize books, God was faithful to supply all our needs. We’ve never missed paying a bill. We’ve never even been late, as best I remember.

During those years, we had refinanced our house in order to support the publishing ministry. But a few years ago God directed us to a beautiful, spacious house here in Olathe, Kansas, just five minutes from a Christian college. I’m sitting here in a comfortable, roomy study where I’m blessed to sit and write all day, every day. Our publishing ministry still isn’t self-supporting, but it’s moving that way, and I’m confident it will get there. In the meantime, God is generously meeting our needs through my wife, who is a successful real estate agent.

Have I answered my earlier question—did I fail? If my goal was profit, I certainly did. If it weren’t for my weaknesses, perhaps our publishing ministry would have been financially viable. But I’m encouraged by this verse:

We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV)

Like Paul, I had prayed that God would take away my weakness and make me “successful” as a publisher. But His response was, and is:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV)

Remember, God spoke our entire physical reality out of nothing. He never runs low on resources. What He wants, what He is constantly seeking, is people who will love Him, trust Him, and obey Him, people who will do what He says one day at a time and leave everything else to Him. Weak people. Ordinary people. Human people. Obedient people.

Lord, I’m available! Count me in!