Content with Weakness


Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. (Luke 22:3)

Here is suffering that is coming from “hostility from sinners.” This means that Satan has a hand in it, just as he did in the suffering of Jesus (Luke 22:3). Nevertheless, this very suffering is described as governed by God in such a way that it has the loving and fatherly design of purifying discipline.

So Satan has one design for our suffering in persecution, and God has a different design for that very same experience. But persecution is not unique in this. The same is true of sickness. Both the design of Satan and the design of God are evident in 2 Corinthians 12:7–10:

To keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me — to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And he has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Here, Paul’s physical suffering — the thorn in the flesh — is called “a messenger of Satan.”

But the design of this suffering is “to keep [Paul] from exalting [himself ],” which never would have been Satan’s design.

So the point is that Christ sovereignly accomplishes his loving, purifying purpose by overruling Satan’s destructive attempts. Satan is always aiming to destroy our faith, but Christ magnifies his own power in our weakness.