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Earl Marshall

2 Corinthians Through the Lens of Cancer: 2 Corinthians 12

It has been a while since I wrote on this blog. I have been journalling extensively through my journey with cancer but I am choosing to be selective on posting some of those entries. I am currently in round six of chemo treatment. I will have a CAT Scan on July 22 and then receive the results on July 24. If there is no residual signs of cancer on the scan then I am finished treatment. We are praying to that end while trusting God with his will.

May 18, 2019

Don’t feel sorry for me!

I am unsure whether John Piper does his own tweets (doubtful), but it is crazy to know that we are reflecting on the same passages of scripture at the same time.

As I am reading 2 Corinthians 12 I am reminded that sometimes God gives you something to keep you humble (“too elated” – 12:8). It is not lost on me that the emphasis in this chapter is not the being caught up into the third heaven. No doubt this is something to celebrate and to speak loudly about but it is not the mountain top experience that Paul is focused on. He boasts more about his valley, his weakness. I am learning how that illness and major trial keeps you dependent on the Lord and this is a good thing. There is nothing wrong with pleading for healing but I am challenged to plead for the bigger win in my life. God has a sovereign plan that he is working out in my life.

12:9 – God’s grace is sufficient for me for God’s power is made perfect in weakness. Weakness is used in scripture to refer to general weakness, sickness, death and disease. I am captured by this truth that God’s power is caused to become (present passive indicative), made to be complete or accomplished in weakness. It is in weakness that God’s power is made to be complete. Here is God’s design, his power is made effectual through the weakness of cancer in my life. You will see God’s power most effective in me when I am at my weakest. No wonder then Paul says, “gladly, therefore, more I will boast in the weaknesses in order that the power of Christ resides/rests/dwells upon me.” His boasting is linked to the power of Christ dwelling upon him.

When he says boast he is talking about speaking loudly about his weaknesses. What does it mean to speak loudly about the weakness of my cancer? I am wary of drawing attention to myself and don’t want to come across as full of pride. But there must be room within humility for boasting. For the sake of Christ, for the Church, and for our witness we should speak openly about our weaknesses and the power of God resting upon us in the midst of them. Let people walk with you in your weakness. Let them see your pain. Let them hear your lament and praise. Speak boldly of what God is doing in you during the valley times of your life. His grace is sufficient.

Perhaps the key to speaking boldly is found in the next verse, 12:10. Paul says that he is “content with weaknesses . . .” That word “content” actually is better translated delight or continuously pleased. When you can see your weaknesses as for the sake of Christ and delight in this it makes such a huge difference. Don’t get me wrong there are many moments when delight is the farthest thing from my mind while I am going through chemotherapy. But being able to step back and know that I am strong when I am weak because the weaknesses of my life are causing God’s power to be complete in me brings great delight to my soul. So, I can and will speak boldly about my cancer and what God is doing in and hopefully through me in the midst of it. This is a time of change in me, the power of Christ is resting upon me – perhaps more now than ever before.

1 Comment

  1. Continuing in prayer for you and family. We will pray for the CAT scan and your continued healing and recovery. Praise to the Lord for His hand on you and providing wisdom for doctors. Know you are loved.
    Bill

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