In one of the great paradoxes of creation, God 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 asserting that God doesn’t use the wise and the strong. There are entire books of Scripture dedicated to promoting wisdom and praising strong leaders.

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. But not just on the mountains. He is with us in every phase of the journey.

These verses suggest God 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 what is meaningless or un-useful (or evil). In this context, God nullifies what appears as reality by replacing it with a far greater and transcendent reality – a true reality that extends from His very being.

What we know is adequate, but incomplete. There is never a sense in which we have figured out the one way God works, because He works in ways that are beyond our comprehension.

So we cannot view our success, our wisdom even, as a finality against which we can close all other doors. God uses us both in spite of as well as because of our weakness. He uses all avenues and all circumstances to make Himself known.

To choose a perspective that God only works through our success would be to ignore part of reality. It is an act of worship to see God in all things. To look into and through circumstances, all circumstances, to see the steady Divine at work.

All of us ought to work on bettering ourselves. But we ought not think the working of God is dependent on us doing so. The invitation of today, of each moment, is to see God at work in all things. To not allow our perspective to disqualify that which God has ordained – His Presence in hard things.

God does 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 circumstances.

“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