“When I am weak, then I am strong.”–2 Corinthians 12:10
Needs, shortages, problems are summonses to faith. That is why they are God’s will. They are His necessary way of compelling us flesh-bound humans to recognize our earthly limitations, to be dissatisfied with them, to seek the way to transcend them, and to become agents of redemptive faith. There He stands just the other side of the barrier, beckoning to us and saying, “I am the answer, I am the supply. I have come to you in Christ. Receive Me in this situation.” For need is a shadow. And what casts the shadow? The light. No light, no shadow. The light of God’s fullness shines on this world. The oppositions of Satan, to which we add the sin of unbelief, have interposed themselves and cast the shadows of the lacks of this life. Christ has come to destroy that intervening barrier. Then to those who believe Him, it is no longer a barrier but a bluff’a challenge to faith.
That may or may not mean that the actual material situation is changed. Very often it is. But it means that we look at all situations with God’s eyes. We see that in reality they are His situations, into which He has deliberately put us that He might be glorified in them. Therefore before we call, He is already answering, because He Himself has instigated this actual situation with His answer all prepared. Our calling is His stirring of us to feel the need and recognize that here is a situation in which God is going to do something. Our action then is to call on Him, in other words, to take the attitude of faith. Faith means that we turn our attention from the need to the Supplier who is already supplying that need, and who allowed the need because He intends to supply it to His glory. Therefore our calling on Him is our seeing Him and praising Him and confessing Him before men, and awaiting the manifestation of the supply.
Paul’s thorn in the flesh is a perfect illustration of this. Though a “messenger of Satan,” God sent it, for it was “given” him for a deliberate purpose’to keep him from the subtle inroads of self-esteem, leading to self-reliance. The trial was deep and prolonged (probably increasing blindness). At first he thought that the One who had done physical miracles in other bodies through him would do the same in him. But no. After three separate appeals, we may suppose with intervals between each, God’s word came clear to him. He was to prove the power of God in his weakness, not from it; not by deliverance from it, but by constant ability to transcend it. The Supplier had met his need’this time as abounding spiritual supply overflowing an ever-present physical need. A seeking faith became a praising faith, and reaching out over all the unending trials and sufferings of his pioneer life, he gathered them up in one embrace of praise and thanks for all of them (2 Cor. 12:10), and especially for the blessedness of that basic lesson for all time: “when I am weak, then am I strong.”
And, far more important, when his own lesson had been well-learned, his testimony has transmitted the secret, even more clearly than Job himself, to millions of succeeding generations. Our trials are God’s trials, given us for a purpose, exactly suited to us. Our lacks are God’s lacks, our perplexities are God’s perplexities. Before the trials, God has already prepared the deliverance and sends us the trials that He may manifest Himself through them. The trial is to stimulate faith, and faith is seeing Him who is invisible. As we do this, in praise and expectation, He gives the answer. It may or may not be the kind of deliverance we anticipate. But it will be what we can recognize and receive with joy as His answer, and to which we can testify. The need will have been wholly met by His supply in His way, and, as a pebble thrown into a pond, the widening circles of the testimony will do their redemptive work far beyond our knowledge.
—The Deep Things of God
by Norman Grubb
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 32 No 4
- Faith Illustrations–The Original Christmas
- Two Men of God
- Three Exciting New Projects
- The Holy and Hidden Mystery
- Tell it Like it Is
- Q & A
- From Who Am I?
- From The Intercession of Rees Howells
- Bible Bedrock
- A Letter from Norman
- Except by Faith
- The War and After
- The Intercessor: Behind the Scenes
- The Editor’s Note