Therefore I take pleasure - I not only endure them patiently, but am pleased when they occur; for I do it for Christ's sake - on his account; for on his account I suffer. For when I am weak - most oppressed with trials and afflictions, then am I strong; God supporting my mind with his most powerful influences, causing me to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Therefore I take pleasure - Since so many benefits result from trials; since my afflictions are the occasion of obtaining the favor of Christ in so eminent a degree, I rejoice in the privilege of suffering. There is often real pleasure in affliction, paradoxical as it may appear. Some of the happiest persons I have known are those who have been deeply afflicted; some of the purest joys which I have witnessed have been manifested on a sick-bed, and in the prospect of death. And I have no doubt that Paul, in the midst of all his infirmities and reproaches, had a joy above that which all the wealth and honor of the world could give. See here the power of religion. It not only supports, it comforts. It not only enables one to bear suffering with resignation, but it enables him to rejoice. Philosophy blunts the feelings: infidelity leaves people to complain and repine in trial; the pleasures of this world have no power even to support or comfort in times of affliction; but Christianity furnishes positive pleasure in trial, and enables the sufferer to smile through his tears.
In infirmities - In my weaknesses; see the note on 2 Corinthians 11:30.
In reproaches - In the contempt and scorn with which I meet as a follower of Christ, note, 2 Corinthians 11:21.
In necessities - In want: see the notes on 2 Corinthians 6:4-5.
In distresses for Christ‘s sake - note, 2 Corinthians 6:4. In the various needs and difficulties to which I am exposed on account of the Saviour, or which I suffer in his cause.
For when I am weak, then am I strong - When I feel weak; when I am subjected to trial, and nature faints and fails, then strength is imparted to me, and I am enabled to bear all. The more I am borne down with trials, the more do I feel my need of divine assistance, and the more do I feel the efficacy of divine grace. Such was the promise in Deuteronomy 33:25; “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” So in Hebrews 11:24; “Who out of weakness were made strong.” What Christian has not experienced this, and been able to say that when he felt himself weak and felt like sinking under the accumulation of many trials, he has found his strength according to his day, and felt an arm of power supporting him? It is then that the Redeemer manifests himself in a special manner; and then that the excellency of the religion of Christ is truly seen and its power appreciated and felt.
I know that when I ask the Lord to be my helper He will not deny me, because it is my one desire to do His will and glorify His name. I am weak, but in depending wholly upon Him, I obtain strength. In laying my burden upon the Burden Bearer, I find comfort and strength and hope. This is my desire—to find abiding rest at His feet. While I keep firm hold of His hand, He leads me safely. The living God shall be the joy and rejoicing of my soul. HP 187.5Read in context »
There are Christians who think and speak altogether too much about the power of Satan. They think of their adversary, they pray about him, they talk about him, and he looms up greater and greater in their imagination. It is true that Satan is a powerful being; but, thank God, we have a mighty Saviour, who cast out the evil one from heaven. Satan is pleased when we magnify his power. Why not talk of Jesus? Why not magnify His power and His love? DA 493.1
The rainbow of promise encircling the throne on high is an everlasting testimony that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. It testifies to the universe that God will never forsake His people in their struggle with evil. It is an assurance to us of strength and protection as long as the throne itself shall endure. DA 493.2
Jesus added, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Rejoice not in the possession of power, lest you lose sight of your dependence upon God. Be careful lest self-sufficiency come in, and you work in your own strength, rather than in the spirit and strength of your Master. Self is ever ready to take the credit if any measure of success attends the work. Self is flattered and exalted, and the impression is not made upon other minds that God is all and in all. The apostle Paul says, “When I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10. When we have a realization of our weakness, we learn to depend upon a power not inherent. Nothing can take so strong a hold on the heart as the abiding sense of our responsibility to God. Nothing reaches so fully down to the deepest motives of conduct as a sense of the pardoning love of Christ. We are to come in touch with God, then we shall be imbued with His Holy Spirit, that enables us to come in touch with our fellow men. Then rejoice that through Christ you have become connected with God, members of the heavenly family. While you look higher than yourself, you will have a continual sense of the weakness of humanity. The less you cherish self, the more distinct and full will be your comprehension of the excellence of your Saviour. The more closely you connect yourself with the source of light and power, the greater light will be shed upon you, and the greater power will be yours to work for God. Rejoice that you are one with God, one with Christ, and with the whole family of heaven. DA 493.3Read in context »