Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sufficient Grace

"To keep me from being conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me 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.  But he said to me, 
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  ~ 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

     Paul shares that he was given a thorn in his flesh.  We don’t know what his thorn actually was, but we do know that he wanted to be rid of it desperately.  Perhaps the thorn was not identified specifically so that each of us could relate to Paul’s battle.  
     All of us have thorns in our lives.  A thorn is an area where we feel most vulnerable or defeated.  Our thorns could be depression, an irritating neighbor, a boundary-less relative, splitting headaches, a cancer diagnosis, or even the inability to let go of hurtful memories.
          Paul wrestled with God about his issue.  He prayed three times for his thorn to be removed.  Finally, God answers but it was probably not exactly what Paul wanted to hear.  God said, “No.”  Well actually, what He said was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  God did not remove the thorn.  He gave Paul grace to live with the thorn.
     As Christians we sometimes think that if we pray hard enough, if we are obedient enough, if we trust enough, or are somehow good enough that we will be spared the painful thorns in life.  The Bible doesn’t say that.  Nobody gets a pass from difficulty in life.
     I can recall some hard things that I have gone through that I believed God could have prevented or removed, but He didn’t.  But my trust in Him grew.  Was there pain?  Yes.  Did I wrestle with God?  Yes.  Did He make it all better?  Eventually.  I learned that I could trust Him to be with me in the fire of my battles.  
     So as we feel the thorny ache in our side, consider the One who suffered more than just a piercing of His side for us.  Remember that His power is made perfect in weakness.

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