Drawing Strength from Weakness

“For when I feel weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).
This verse seems like a great Pauline contradiction.

How can I draw strength from my weakness? How can I, before my helplessness, be powerful? This is only possible from the perspective of someone who recognizes themselves in need of God. Someone who, like Paul, knows that without the action of the Holy Spirit nothing can be done.

How can I do strength from my weakness?

Illustrative Photo: Daniel Mafra / cancaonova.com

Who was Paul of Tarsus? Where did you seek strength to overcome your weaknesses?

Paul was a well-studied guy of unique intelligence, but he knew that his humanity had weaknesses . And how did you handle it? Only by submitting everything to God.

The weak person is not one who has weaknesses, but one who surrenders to them. To touch my weaknesses, my emptiness, is to realize that when I have nothing left, I can count completely on God .

We are human, we are people. We feel pain, we feel thirsty, we feel helpless. Even Jesus in His humanity also felt pain. And He was not afraid to present His weaknesses to friends and to God. In Gethsemane, this was clearly presented to us.

A story to illustrate

I remember here an old story:

A ten-year-old boy decided to practice judo despite losing his arm in a terrible car accident. The boy was doing very well, but without understanding why, after three months of training, the master had taught him only one movement. The boy then told him:

– Master, shouldn’t I learn more movements?
The master answered the boy calmly and with conviction:
“That’s really the only move you know, but it’s also the only move you need to know.”

Months later, the master enrolled the boy in his first tournament. The boy easily won his first two fights and went to the final fight of the tournament. His opponent was much bigger, stronger and more experienced. The boy, using the teachings of the master, joined the fight and, when given the opportunity, used his move to stop the opponent. That’s how the boy won the fight and the tournament. He was champion.

Later at home, the boy and the master reviewed each fight. So the boy got up the courage to ask what was really on his mind:

– Master, how could I win the tournament with just one move?
“You won for two reasons,” replied the master. First, you have mastered one of judo’s toughest moves. And secondly, the only known defense for this move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.


The boy’s greatest weakness had become his greatest strength. So we too can use our weakness to make it our strength. We cannot be afraid to let Master Jesus work out our weakness. He knows how to deal with our humanity, what apparently is our weakness, and make it our greatest wealth and strength.


Adriano Gonçalves

Adriano Gonçalves dos Santos is a member of the Canção Nova Community. Graduated in philosophy and psychology. Acted on TV Canção Nova as host of the program Jesus Revolution. Today he works at the Psychology Center that is part of the General Formation of Canção Nova.