“Three times I pleaded with the lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'” II Corinthians 12:8-9
In speaking about the need for a savior our minds immediately bend towards the life changing and spiritual exchange of salvation. But this is not the reference of my thoughts today. Paul, in his discourse to the Corinthians discusses what he refers to as a “thorn in the flesh.” While many scholars are not certain as to what exactly this was, one thing is true — it drove him nuts! His plea was not for a spiritual exchange, this event already took place in Paul’s life. He was looking to be rescued from whatever followed him day and night in torment.
I know if I were to sit down and begin writing a list of things that bug the dickens out of me, it wouldn’t be long before I’d need a new sheet of paper. But, as the list grows, one or two of them would dominate the page and rise to the top of the list in how severe they impacted my life. Apparently, it did the same for Paul.
Kids are funny and do some of the darn’dest things sometimes. Their worlds are so limited and small. Oh, this is a great thing, both for them and any adult in their midst. I envy their small, simple lives. But, anything that disrupts the harmony of their world: a missing “binky”, not the right food, too much sweet tea before bedtime, not enough sleep, a skunk under the house, someone else playing with “their” toy, getting dressed in the morning . . . and the list goes on, sends them into a fit of overly expressive opinion. They’ve got a plan of how life should be and when it’s not like that then the world knows!
As adults, I find my relationship with God isn’t too far off from the same thing. But instead of being overly opinionated about what might be considered “small things,” I’m extremely vocal and demanding over the circumstances in my life that measure extremely critical according to my scale. What is it with that?
I’m all the while asking and asking again, pleading none-the-less, for God to deliver, change the course, answer a prayer, make a wrong – right, do this, do that, on and on and on. It never occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, in the midst of pain, sorrow, hurt, crisis and grief that God may be saying, “Even though this stuff stinks, I hurt too, I feel the pain too, it makes me sad too, I understand your desperation, I know your loss too! Even though your life is spinning, all I want you to do is wrap your arms around me, hold on tight and in this time when you are weak — through me, you WILL BE strong!”
Paul pleaded three times for God to deliver him — rescue him — save him from his thorn. And while God could have done this — remember He is God — He did not. Instead, God reminded Paul that His grace was sufficient for Him in this very difficult — distracting time. That even in the midst of his circumstances, God would use him through his weakness, in His strength, and there find rest.
Lord Jesus, may I find rest in your strength! As much as I would love for you to remove me from my personal pain and grief, I know that in it, you are strong! May I boast only in my weaknesses, my difficulties, my crisis!
“Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” II Corinthians 12:9b
by: Mark Cruver