10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
This verse presents the paradox of suffering: that when we are weak, then we are strong. Our strength is not ours but Christ’s. Paul was willing to suffer “for Christ’s sake.”
10 Therefore I take pleasure [take content in]
Paul took pleasure in weakness because his weakness manifested God’s grace and power to others. The ultimate purpose of creation is to manifest God’s glory in time on earth. The apostle came to a place where he fully accepted how God worked through his weaknesses. God would give him the grace to deal with it.
“Infirmities” begins the list of five examples of how God worked through his weakness. First, the apostle went through infirmities, or mistreatments.
Many of Paul’s enemies slandered him as weak. He endured many insults in ministry. He was a much-maligned man. Many people had disparaging things to say about him.
Paul was constantly in need; he faced hardship in ministry (2 Co 4:8-9; 6:4-5; 11:27-28).
2 Corinthians 11:25-26 speaks of some of the persecutions he went through. The Greek term was used for a hunter seeking his prey. Legalists persecuted the apostle.
The Greek conveys distress in a tight situation (as in 2 Co 11:25-26). Paul found himself in cases where he could not see a way out.
for [on behalf of] Christ’s sake.
The word “for” indicates that whatever hardship the apostle experienced, he did it for the Lord.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
These two phrases sum up Paul’s point in this section of 2 Corinthians. It is in weakness that God could work in his life. God’s grace works in weak vessels.
How God works through our weakness shows the reality of God’s power on earth.
Spiritual privilege does not exempt the believer from pain. God can work in us in a special way when we stand in need, whether physical, material, or spiritual. He can show His sufficiency in our situation (2 Co 1:9, 21; 2:14, 16; 3:5-6; 4:5-7, 10; 6:6-7; 9:8-11; 10:17; 12:7-10; 13:4).