So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).
(2 Corinthians 12:10; amplified)
L.B. (Mrs. Charles E.) Cowman worked as a pioneer missionary with her husband in Japan and China from 1901 to 1917. When her husband’s poor health forced the couple to return to the United States, she turned her attention to caring for him until his death six years later. It was out of the experiences and heartaches that filled those six years that she wrote the devotionals that fill her classic, Streams in the Desert. Commenting on the biblical passage cited above, Cowman writes:
The literal translation of this verse adds a startling emphasis to it, allowing it to speak for itself with power we have probably never realized. It’s as follows: “Therefore I take pleasure in being without strength, being insulted, experiencing emergencies, and being chased and forced into a corner for Christ’s sake; for when I am without strength, I am dynamite.”
The secret of knowing God’s complete sufficiency is in coming to the end of everything in ourselves and our circumstances. Once we reach this point, we will stop seeking sympathy for our difficult situation or ill treatment, because we will recognize these things as the necessary conditions for blessings,…realizing they are the evidence of Him working in our lives.
Interestingly, it was while enduring a similar situation that C.S. Lewis wrote his Chronicles of Narnia. In fact, the more you study and discover what God has produced in His children not through “picturesque mountain tops” but rather through “dark valleys,” you find it’s no wonder James wrote, “Consider it great joy…when you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance…” (1:2, csb)
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick