Posted by: SandreS | July 30, 2009


… Of myself I will not glory, but in my infirmities (II Corinthians 12:5).

As we have already considered, suffering has many aspects and dimensions. We are now looking at the category of common suffering, those which are common to all mankind. We have looked at the trials associated with basic human needs (i.e., food, shelter and clothing). We will now look at the sufferings associated with our frail bodies (i.e., limited, weak, aging, sickly, disease-prone bodies). Paul says regarding these,

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities … (II Corinthians 12:10).

The English word for “infirmities” means, “an unsound or unhealthy state of the body; weakness; feebleness” (Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828). Thus an infirmary is “a hospital or place where the sick are lodged and nursed” (Webster).

The actual Greek word used by Paul was astheneia (Strong’s Greek Lexicon, #769), meaning, “feebleness; by implication, malady; frailty” and is translated in other places in the King James Version as “disease,” “sickness,” and “weakness.”

We are talking about the natural problems associated with human frailty. Each of us must suffer through this, and increasingly so as we age. Paul was well acquainted with an infirmed body as he proclaimed God’s Good News. Yet because of Paul’s divine perspective, he learned to glory in these infirmities.

You know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first (Galatians 4:13).

If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern my infirmities (II Corinthians 11:30).

… Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (II Corinthians 12:9).

… I take pleasure in infirmities … (II Corinthians 12:10).

Paul knew all too well the infirmity of humanity. Why could Paul “take pleasure in” and “glory in” such a frail state? Because he could weigh the counter-abundant glory it would bring!

Do you suffer aches and pains? Are your steps getting slower? Is your physical strength waning? Is your body racked with illness and disease? Why so? – Only because we are not yet home. We suffer all of these things because we are left here on duty, “in His stead.”

… But we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is (I John 3:2).

When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:4).

For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29).

And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the Heavenly (I Corinthians 15:49).

Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself (Philippians 3:21).

Glorious hope indeed! One can rejoice when one sees things from the divine perspective!

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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