"Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me…" 2 Corinthians 12:7-8
Okay, so I realize that this verse doesn't seem to make any sense when this post is about grace, but PLEASE just hang in there with me for a few moments, it will all make sense soon….
So in this chapter of 2 Corinthians Paul talks about how he won't boast about himself except in his weaknesses. He goes on to tell us about this thorn he has that keeps him from becoming conceited. Paul pleads with God to take the thorn away…
Oh and by the way, the word "thorn" in this passage gives the idea of a pain, suffering, trouble, humiliation, or a physical issue. It is not referring to a temptation of sin.
Now you're probably asking yourself "What kind of God hears His followers plead for Him to take something away and still let it remain?"
An amazing God.
A lot of times when we plead with God and He answers our prayers with a refusal, a "no" or "not now", it's because He has something much better in store for us instead.
Remember, He is GOD. He sees the things that we cannot. He knows what is best for us in the long run.
Paul's thorn made him more dependent on God.
Lately, I've been dealing with some thorns myself.
For a while now, I've been having these nightmares on a regular basis. When I was away from home last semester for college, most nights I couldn't sleep because I was scared of what I would see when I fell asleep. In most of these nightmares, I see myself being beaten and abused and used by men I have never even seen in my life. Also, I have been dealing with feelings of loneliness.
When I felt God was leading me to move back home to Georgia, I figured that when I moved He would removed the nightmares and the loneliness. But the "thorns" seemed to intensify. Being the self-blinded, selfish, ungrateful human that I am, I got frustrated and upset with God. I didn't understand how He would move me and let my thorns dig deeper into me.
But He then reminded me of His faithfulness. He reminded me of the dark times in my past that He pulled me through and how much stronger I was after going through those times and trusting Him to remain faithful in His love for me.
As some of you may know, I feel a call, a passion engraved in my heart to rescue and help rehabilitate the victims of sex trafficking/sexual slavery.
"Okay God, I trust You. Even when the nightmares get worse, even when I feel lonely, like I have no one to turn to, I will remember that I am NOT alone, I am NEVER alone, that You are GOOD, You are FAITHFUL. I will trust that you will bring me through this season and I will be made stronger because of it. I will depend on You, because You know what is best for me and You are teaching me something through this season."
I then felt my eyes and heart open to what God was teaching me.
Those nightmares, that loneliness, was not only making my relationship with God stronger and making me completely dependent on Him, but it was also teaching me things that will help me with the call God has placed on my life.
If I had never seen the things I did in those nightmares, if I hadn't gone through those feelings of loneliness, then how could I ever relate to those who feel alone and trapped? How could I minister to others, how could I tell them to trust in God if I hadn't even done it myself?
"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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT! HIS POWER IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS!
His grace is truly enough, more than enough for me. He is ALL I need! I can fully trust and depend on Him and Him alone! I can BOAST about my weaknesses because His power is perfect through it! The greater our weakness and sufferings for Him, the more grace He will give to accomplish His purposes. His grace far exceeds any sufferings or difficulties we may face in this life. As long as we rely on Him, He will always give us strength and comfort.
"That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor. 12:10
We should be grateful for the thorns we have, for our weaknesses, and we should see value in them because they bring glory to God, they allow Christ's power to be revealed in and through us. They make us stronger.
Rely completely on Him and you will see that His grace truly is sufficient.
somewhere out there in the world,