But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV)
As many of us who have read about the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) know, world peace was short-lived. God confused the languages of man, making construction plans impossible.
I’ve heard it said before that God was–to paraphrase–a real jerk when He thwarted the building of Babel. God was compared to a father knocking down his child’s painstakingly constructed lego tower. This was, in their opinion, inexcusably unsupportive on God’s part.
But the people of Babel had set out to defy God. Their ancient efforts are loosely equivalent to a two-year-old scribbling on the wall with permanent marker instead of obeying their dad’s instruction to go to bed.
In his poem “The Building of the Tower of Babel and Confusion of Tongues” (which would inspire the final title of C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy), Sir David Lyndsay puts it best, calling the tower “that hideous strength.”
That hideous strength.
What an interesting thing to consider: mankind’s strength was hideous. Somehow, mankind twisted strength into blasphemy, and instead of beauty, our most unified efforts were sickening.
It seems to me that God’s intervention was a profound mercy. By God’s grace, we discovered the world–mountains, rivers, and canyons. By His grace, we multiplied across the earth and we developed beautiful cultures and ethnic groups. It was for divinely good reason that God sovereignly altered the very hardwiring of mankind’s brains: mankind had set out to usurp authority and build a monument to his own permanence, strength, and glory.
But how often do our lives look something like the tower of Babel? How often do our lives look like monuments attempting to show our independence from God? How often are our careers, educations, relationships, and dreams all part of a tireless and obsessive attempt to be self-sufficient rather than reliant on God? How often are even our good deeds a twisted, muddy attempt to wash ourselves rather than being washed in the saving blood of Jesus Christ?
How hideous are our strengths?
As Charles Spurgeon famously said, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” Sometimes the waves of life reveal our strengths for what they are: hideous. Though it is supremely humbling, let us embrace the trials that disillusion us with ourselves, and let us boast, trust, and rely on the infinite power of God.
I’ll land this plane with 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
In every season of life, God says to us “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
So let’s boast all the more gladly in weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on us. For the sake of Christ, let’s be content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when we are weak, then we are strong.
Julia is a college student who understands that “Distractions don’t just take our attention. When we get caught up in ourselves and the whirlwind of life, we can quickly lose sight of our identity as God’s beloved and the Love which inspires joy, hope, and healing in us. With our focus on ourselves, it’s easy–even logical, to forget why God’s love is so steadfast. Meditate with me on His love, that it is pure, decisive, and trustworthy.” There are numerous ways to enjoy our Bible studies: tune in to your favorite radio station, listen to our podcasts on our website or iTunes, listen through TuneIn, Stitcher, or Spotify online radio, or watch us on YouTube!