In one of the great paradoxes of creation, God decided to make things complex. He decided to use all of us in all kinds of different ways. Even before that, He decided to use human beings, a lowly form relative to the divine realm, in order to proclaim His power, His glory, and the truth of who He is.

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he is not suggesting that God doesn’t use the wise and the strong. There are entire books of Scripture dedicated to promoting wisdom over foolishness.

What Paul is suggesting is that God does not only use the wise (or the strong). He uses “the things that are”. God is in our triumph, our success. He is with us on the mountains.

What these verses are suggesting is that He is not only in our successes. He uses foolish things, weak things. He uses our mistakes to teach and our suffering to build character. He is in all circumstances and all things.

He does not “nullify things that are” in the sense of rendering them meaningless or unuseful (or evil). In this context, “nullification” means that these things are not complete. The things that are is never the end. There is never a sense in which we have figured out the one way God works, because He works in all ways. So we cannot view our success, our wisdom even, as a finality against which we can close all other doors. God still uses us in weakness. He uses all avenues and all circumstances to make Himself known.

Why does God do this? So that “no one may boast before Him”. So that none of us will be able to say, “we’ve got it all figured out”. God is too big. His workings too complex. We are constantly given the opportunity to be surprised by God. There is hope, even gladness, in the idea that God can use us no matter where we are, how we feel, or what we are going through. We can share in His glory throughout all of life’s arenas.

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
– 1 Corinthians 1:27-29