These words were spoken to Paul by God when Paul was given a “thorn in his flesh”, or in his own words, “a messenger of Satan, to torment me” (2 Cor 12:7). Paul shares that he pleaded with God three times to take it away from him, but instead of taking away the torment that Paul was experiencing – God said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.

Some of us might look at this exchange and be indignant – why didn’t God just remove the pain that Paul was going through? One snap of His fingers and Paul could be well – so why was God withholding healing?

Sometimes, we need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture to understand God’s ways. God didn’t just leave Paul to suffer alone, in fact, He gave Paul a precious promise. Speaking in the present tense, God assured Paul that He had already given him His grace, and it was sufficient to help Paul get through any circumstance. God was inviting Paul to depend on Him fully – to allow his weakness to be an avenue through which God would display His power. Being weak didn’t mean that Paul wouldn’t be able to do great things for God, it meant that God would be able to do even greater things through Paul!

We all have thorns in our flesh – a medical condition, a difficult relationship, financial troubles – these things can make us feel helpless and weak. We can plead to God to remove these thorns, and we believe that our loving God will surely come through for us – but as we wait for these thorns to be removed, will we also realise that God has not abandoned us in our waiting? He has already met our needs through giving to us His sufficient grace.

Let us not hide away our weaknesses or dwell in self-pity - instead, let us be like Paul, who was willing to boast about his weaknesses and allow God’s power to rest on him. “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). May this too, be our response to every challenging circumstance that comes our way!

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November 09, 2023 — TCCO (Troubleshooting)