Sunday, August 7, 2022

The Power of Vulnerability with Your Audience

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us…and He will deliver us (2 Corinthians 1:8-10).

Honesty about our suffering can lead to a direct message of God’s power.

We are, after all, merely scribes and stewards.

As scribes, we write what we hear. As Christian writers, we seek God’s guidance in our craft, listen to the Holy Spirit, and pen words to describe His work in the world.

As stewards, we carefully and respectfully handle His stories and share them.

Paul’s target audience in 1 and 2 Corinthians was a complicated one. They were citizens of Corinth, a Roman colony strategically placed in the commercial epicenter of ancient Greece. Most were nouveau riche and highly religious, yet morally decadent. The city had lain dormant for nearly a hundred years before being refounded by Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. Those who became followers of Jesus emerged from diverse backgrounds, both slave and free, Gentile and Jew. Most rejected the centrality of the cross in Christian life.

Paul sees the Gospel itself at stake and he often uses the power of vulnerability to address his confused and conflicted target audience. His writing spans a wide gamut of emotion, from confrontation, appeal, sarcasm (yes, holy sarcasm!), and plainly describing the fear and humiliation of the sufferings he endured. His message was urgent and clear: all was to make us rely not on ourselves, but on God. 

Beneath the diversity, under the clamor of religiosity, behind the wealth or lack thereof, are human beings with emotions and struggles, highs and lows. When we share our honest humanity with our target audience, the author who was high on a pedestal steps down to the hard-packed earth of normal life. When we take the risk of opening up about our fears and suffering, the reader who stood at a distance draws near. Before we know it, the writer and the reader become two human beings on level ground, both needing the Gospel and finding that it is, indeed, central to all of life for both of them.

God delivers both of us… and we are filled with the confidence that He will continue to deliver us in the days to come.

Lord, give me courage and wisdom to write with vulnerability, and release your power in the lives of both me and my readers. Amen.


Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Audrey and her family have spent over twenty years living and working among different cultures and world views, and she has found that God’s story of redemption spans every geography and culture. He is the God of Instead, giving honor instead of shame, gladness instead of mourning, hope instead of despair. Although she has three different degrees in communication and intercultural studies, Audrey’s greatest credential is that she is known and loved by the One who made her.

Audrey is the author of Covered Glory: The Face of Honor and Shame in the Muslim World (Harvest House Publishers), an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. Shame is not unique to the developing world, the plight of the women behind veils, young girls trafficked across borders; shame is lurking in hearts everywhere. Through powerful stories from women around the world, Covered Glory illuminates the power of the Gospel to remove shame, giving honor instead. Available at favorite booksellers: BARNES & NOBLE , BOOKS A MILLION, AMAZON.


  1. Audrey, thank you for the historical background about Paul and what he was dealing with in these letters. Very interesting. : )

    1. Thank you Chris. If we only knew writers’ backgrounds and contexts more often, oh the insight it would bring! Blessings to you today.