Designed with Infirmities
There was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me. For which thing thrice I besought the Lord, that it might depart from me. And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For which cause I please myself in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ. For when I am weak, then am I powerful. (II Corinthians 12:7b–10)
God designed us with infirmities so that we would recognize our need for the power of His grace.
Adam and Eve were designed with human frailties, which Satan detected and exploited. They could not blame their environment for their sin, because the environment was ideal. They could not blame their Creator—He was the Almighty God of the universe. So they blamed the weaknesses of other created things. Adam blamed Eve, who blamed the serpent. Why did God create us with mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual Infirmities? We were created with them so that He could perfect the power of His grace in us,
“That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:7–8a).
The nature of God’s love required that He design us with infirmities that only He could strengthen by His powerful grace.
Love is based on a mutual understanding that we are incomplete and have specific needs. If we think we are self-sufficient, we will not recognize our need for God. His purpose of creating us for fellowship and great works would then be lost.
God created Lucifer, “son of the morning,” as a dependent being. However, Lucifer decided that he wanted to be free of God’s rule, so he made the following statement in his heart.
“I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:13–14).
God created Adam and Eve with a need for His direction and daily fellowship. However, Satan tempted them to choose to be like God, with the ability to independently decide what was good and what was evil. (See Genesis 3:5.)
God raised up the nation of Israel and made all its people dependent on Him for daily food, direction, and protection. However, He knew that when they became self-sufficient in the land of Canaan, they would turn away from Him and lose the power and glory of His grace. (See Deuteronomy 6, 10, 12.)
God designed wives to be dependent on their husbands for certain needs. Husbands, also, are to be dependent on their wives for specific needs. When a husband, a wife, or both become self-sufficient, their love is damaged or destroyed.
When Paul comprehended the reality of his infirmities and the importance of activating the power of God’s grace, it is no wonder that he exclaimed, “Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For which cause I please myself in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ. For when I am weak, then am I powerful." (II Corinthians 12:9b–10).
From this passage, it is clear that God’s grace has inherent power. The word in verse 9 that is translated power (“that the power of Christ may dwell in me”) is the same word used in verse 12 to define the “mighty deeds” that Paul carried out with the grace of God.
The Greek word translated into strength, power, and mighty deeds is dunamis. It means “inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature.” Words derived from the root dunamai have the basic meaning of “being able” and “capable.” The English words dynamite and dynamic are derivatives of the Greek root dunamis. The grace of God described in this passage is far greater than just an attitude of God toward us.
The Healing Power of God’s Grace
After twelve years of unsuccessful medical treatments, increased complications, and huge medical bills, a woman came to the firm conclusion that the physicians of her era could provide no relief from her blood disorder.
“And a woman who was under an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things from many physicians; and had spent all that she had, and was nothing the better, but rather worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the crowd behind him, and touched his garment. For she said: If I shall touch but his garment, I shall be whole.” (Mark 5:25–28).
As soon as the woman touched Jesus’ clothes, virtue went out of Him, and she was healed instantly. The word translated into virtue is the same Greek word, dunamis, that describes what Paul did through the power of God’s grace.
We can be certain that Jesus favored all who followed Him. If grace is simply a favorable attitude that God has toward us, why did only one receive the power of healing from Jesus, Who was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14a)? Her healing came because she combined her faith with God’s grace. This combination brings about salvation.
“For by grace you are saved through faith,” (Ephesians 2:8a).
Jesus told the woman, “Thy faith hath made thee whole” (Luke 8:48b).
The word whole is a translation of the Greek word sozo, which means “to save; i.e., to deliver or protect.”
- It can refer to the healing of the body—“And the prayer of faith shall save [sozo] the sick man” (James 5:15a)
- It can refer to the healing of the soul—“receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save [sozo] your souls.” (James 1:21b).
- It also can refer to the salvation of the spirit. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. [sozo]” (Romans 10:13). “For by grace you are saved [sozo] through faith” (Ephesians 2:8a).
The woman with the blood disease was not the only one who experienced the power of God’s grace by touching His garment.
“And all the multitude sought to touch him, for virtue went out from him, and healed all. ” (Luke 6:19).
What a marvelous confirmation of the power of God’s grace combined with faith. (See Ephesians 2:8.)
Another event, recorded in the Gospel of John, addresses the question of why some people are born with disabilities. As Jesus walked along a street, He saw a man who had been blind from birth. Jesus knew this man intimately—He had designed him before he was formed in his mother’s womb. Jesus’ design included all the features the man needed to carry out great works. One of these was blindness. It is difficult for us to think that God would create someone with blindness, yet the Lord clearly stated to Moses, “Who made man' s mouth? or who made the dumb and the deaf, the seeing and the blind? did not I?” (Exodus 4:11).
This only makes sense if we remember that God designed each of us with infirmities that will make us dependent on Him, enabling us to experience the power of His grace.
When Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind?” (John 9:2), Jesus was quick to answer,“Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:3).
Christ’s healing of the blind man was a major event in the whole community. The people were astonished, and the Pharisees were alarmed. They questioned the parents of the blind man and then interrogated the man himself. After giving a clear testimony about Jesus, he was reviled and thrown out of the synagogue by the envious Pharisees. When Jesus heard that the healed man had been cast out, He found him and led him to full salvation. (See John 9.)
The Principle of Strength in Infirmities
The blind man clearly understood and accepted the fact that he was physically blind. He also acknowledged his spiritual blindness when Jesus asked him, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” (John 9:35).The healed man answered, “Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?” (John 9:36). When Jesus said that He was the Son of God, the healed man said, “I believe, Lord. And falling down, he adored him.” (John 9:38).
The Pharisees, who did not believe in Jesus, heard Him say, “For judgment I am come into this world; that they who see not, may see; and they who see, may become blind. ” (John 9:39). They responded, “Are we also blind?” (John 9:40).
Jesus explained to them that if they would acknowledge their spiritual blindness and believe, they “should not have sin: but now you say: We see. Your sin remaineth.” (John 9:40).
God’s Call for the Infirmed is to Do Powerful Deeds
When God called Moses to deliver His people from bondage, Moses pointed out his own infirmities. “Who am I that I should go to Pharao. . . ? . . .They will not believe me, nor hear my voice . . . . I am not eloquent from yesterday and the day before: and since thou hast spoken to thy servant, I have more impediment and slowness of tongue..” (Exodus 3:11; 4:1, 10). In order to compensate for the speech deficiencies that were part of God’s design for Moses, God granted him the power to perform supernatural miracles that showed Egypt that the Lord is God, and there is none other besides Him.
Do we accept our Infirmities so that the power of God’s grace can rest on us, or do we fret over them and miss the purpose of our existence?
May we be thankful for our infirmities and be willing through faith to allow God to work in us by His grace. For it is in our infirmities we are made strong, and powerful. And this happens through the grace God pours out upon our lives.