2 Corinthians 11:30, “If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.”
There were many problems in the Corinthian church and amongst those problems were those who were glorying, or boasting, in their heritage and accomplishments, (2 Corinthians 11:18-21). Boasting is such a typical characteristic of mankind. It was used to prove the credentials or authority of those who would have the Corinthian church forsake the leadership of Paul for their own.
Yet, Paul’s boasting was entirely different. It was not that he could not boast in heritage and accomplishments, (2 Corinthians 11:22-23; Philippians 3:4-6). This was not the source of Paul’s boasting; his boasting was in infirmities. “If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.” He picks up this idea in 2 Corinthians 12:5, 9. “Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities, (9) “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
What do we boast about? The average person would prefer to make themselves look as good as possible and speak of their accomplishments in order to make others think more highly of them. Most do not view a description of their apparent failures, their troubles, and their broken down bodies as the source of great boasting. There are those who take pleasure in describing their problems in order to gain sympathy. This is not the same as what Paul was doing. He was rejoicing in his infirmities and hardships. As we read through 2 Corinthians 11:23-33, we read of trouble, pain, suffering, persecution, and rejection. That does not make someone look good! It makes us breathe a sigh of relief that it is not us going through all of that!
The Spirit of God is teaching us a very important lesson through our text. Our boasting, the glorying that we do, must not be in our own greatness, but in the opportunities we are given by God. Some of these opportunities may be glorious indeed. But the Lord may give us opportunities to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ, and He wants us to glory in those with the same rejoicing as those things that seem more grand. The Lord would not have us to go looking for trouble; but as we live for Christ trouble will assuredly come our way! “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12). We can and should glory in both. When Peter and John had been beaten for preaching Christ, they rejoiced “…that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” (Acts 5:41).
Suffering is not an indication that we are out of the will and favour of God. It is not always to be counted as evil to experience suffering. May God help us to glory in our infirmities which come because of our service for Christ.