The only recorded description of the Apostle Paul is in an apocryphal book entitled “Acts of Paul and Thecia”. Here, Paul is described as “ a man small in size, bald-headed, bandy-legged, well-built, with eyebrows meeting, rather long-nosed, full of grace…”. Not exactly the description of today’s celebrities or power players!
In today’s society, people often go to great lengths to make sure their physical appearance matches their public persona. They may hire a physical trainer to help them build their body, have hair implants to deal with baldness, or have plastic surgery. Paul didn’t have those options available to him, but even if he did, its unlikely he would have used them.
In the above statement to Paul, Jesus gives an important characteristic of His kingdom. Unlike the world we live in where strength is power, in the world of Jesus, weakness is power. Weakness is good because it forces us to rely on the power of Jesus, not our own power.
As physicians, we are taught to rely on our own surgical and diagnostic skills. These are certainly important, but eventually, we will encounter a patient who is beyond our skills. Their diagnosis is mysterious, their surgical problem complicated, or they are not responding medically as we would expect. Our limitations and weakness are exposed, and we are forced to rely on something beyond ourselves. This is where the Lord is able to work within us and for us.
These episodes are not coincidental; they are planned from eternity past. They are planned for our good so that we can learn that the Lord is with us and wants to teach us to depend on Him. When these episodes arise, don’t allow your identity and worth to be so tied up into your professional reputation that you are afraid to admit your limitations and weaknesses. If you do that, you will limit the ability of the Lord’s power to work in your life. Instead, embrace your weakness as an opportunity for Him to show His strength. Then stand back and watch Him work!
Prayer: Lord, when I’m faced with a difficult case, help me to see and admit my weakness so that I can experience your power working through me.