2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
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. 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.
This above passage is a wake up call for me. We are all afflicted with something. Scripture isn't clear about what the source of the thorn is in Paul's flesh. Was it a physical affliction like malaria, epilepsy, or a disease of the eyes as some might suggest? Or was it people that were "pains" and made his life and work difficult? Whatever it was, it was a chronic and debilitating problem which sometimes kept him from his work in ministry. And just as you might imagine, he asked the Lord to remove this obstacle. This makes total sense to my logical mind.
His full time job which he seemed passionate about was working for the Lord and this thorn was somehow in the way. Can’t you visualize Paul coming to the Lord in prayer humbly asking him to remove this obstacle so he can continue his Godly work? That’s exactly what I would have done. But of course, our all knowing Father had other plans for Paul just as He often does for us today.
Kit points out the secret that God revealed to Paul: the power in weakness. This is something I think we all struggle with. Rather than doing whatever we can to remove our thorns, scripture says the power available to us is IN that thorn. We are to recognize and accept what our thorn is. Take this "problem' and allow the Lord to turn it from a weakness to a strength.
Kit encourages us to be ourselves. Whatever our shortcomings, bring them and ask the Lord to do something for His glory with them. Don't worry as much about what others think, rather be concerned about what He thinks. How freeing is this to just come as we are? Having thorns kept Paul close to the Lord. It reminded him the need for constant contact with God, benefitting those around him as they saw God at work in his life. God promised to demonstrate His power in Paul( 2 Corinthians 12:9). The fact that God’s power is displayed in weak people should give us courage. We must rely on God for our effectiveness rather than simply on our own resources. Our weakness not only helps develop our Christian character , it also deepens our worship because in admitting our weakness, we affirm God’s strength.
As Kit says we will be amazed at how others are drawn to us. And if they are drawn to us, they are being drawn to the Christ in us. Isn't that what it’s all about?
The last line in this chapter says allow yourself to be weak and watch how the power begins to flow back in your life. Oh my! I find this to be the most encouraging statement. Just another reminder for us to quit trying so hard to make it all appear good, move out of our own way, and allow Him to work within us. This is not to say God intended for us to seek to be weak, passive, or ineffective- life is tough enough without us creating setbacks. When the obstacles come, we must put our dependence on God. Only His power will make us effective in a way that has lasting value.
Heavenly and Gracious Father,
We come to you just as we are. All the flaws and stumbling blocks we give to You today and ask that You miraculously use these as strength.
We know that our thorns keep us reliant on You so today we embrace this. We ask that we become real and relatable with others so when they see us, they see YOU. Continue to grow, teach, and refine us Lord.
Help us to know what delighting in our weaknesses looks like. Amen
For further reading: Psalm 119:50; 2 Samuel 22:33; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 105:3-4