When really weak in ourselves
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
“Christ says to those who seek deliverance from pain and sorrow, ‘It is enough that I love you.’ . . . Most Christians are satisfied in trying to be resigned under suffering. They think it is a great thing if they can bring themselves to submit to be the dwelling-place of Christ’s power. To rejoice in their afflictions because thereby Christ is glorified is more than they aspire to. Paul’s experience was far above that standard. . . .
When really weak in ourselves, and conscious of that weakness, we are in the state suited to the manifestation of the power of God. When emptied of ourselves, we are filled with God. Those who think they can change their own hearts, atone for their own sins, subdue the power of evil in their own souls or in the souls of others, who feel able to sustain themselves under affliction, God leaves to their own resources. But when they feel and acknowledge their weakness, he communicates to them divine strength.”
Charles Hodge, An Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids, 1973 reprint), pages 287-289.