2 Corinthians 12:10 – That is why, 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. (NIV)
When Peyton Manning first won the Super Bowl in 2007 for the Indianapolis Colts, he proved all of his critics wrong. Over the years, Peyton had taken a pounding from sports commentators because they believed that he couldn't make a big-time win. I guess that they couldn't stomach the thought that a quarterback from the University of Tennessee would ever produce a Super Bowl champion.
Despite the insults and criticisms, Peyton persevered. He's the hardest working quarterback in the National Football League. During the game, he pores over photographs and game plays in order to come up with the right strategy to beat his opponents. It's been a hard uphill battle to the top, but his focus, determination, and skills have triumphed. He's become a symbol of the American Dream. He's become a success because he has endured the insults and sharpened his leadership on and off the field.
Paul, the apostle, succeeded in a similar way. At first, people in the church couldn't trust him because he had persecuted so many followers. He also had to endure criticisms that his ministry was too confrontational, stirring up fights across the Mediterranean in local synagogues as he sought to do the Lord's work. He was a contentious character, but he was devoted to Christ. He created a lot of unease in the region, but he also built up a lot of churches. He wasn't afraid to stand up for what was right, and he overcame his enemies. Even if some people still didn't accept him, his works spoke for his loyalty to God.
Sometimes, we go through times where the road is rough and life is hard. Sometimes, other people hinder us or problems become serious burdens on our backs. In those moments, when we are weak, Christ is our strength. With faith and perseverance, focus and determination, we can overcome those times and be successful in what we do — whether it's for ourselves or for God.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You never said that life, work, or ministry was ever going to be easy. In many ways and at various times, we all struggle with our faith, our purpose, and our reason for living. When we are weak and down-hearted, be our strength and inspiration. When we are beset with problems and issues, enable us to persevere, endure, and overcome. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.