Study from God’s Word… 2nd Corinthians, Chapters 10 – 13; and Acts 20: 2-3 … Passage for Reflection: 2nd Cor. 12: 8 – 9 … NIV 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
My Journal for Today: This passage of the New Testament from 2nd Corinthians is one of my favorites in the Pauline Epistles. Why? Because I so identify with Paul in his testimony and witness to his own weaknesses being the perfect lesson for others about our human weaknesses being uplifted and overcome by God’s Power.
I’m sure you know Paul’s story here of how Satan was allowed by God to give Paul some permanent “thorn,” from which Paul prayed repeatedly to be relieved. But God showed Paul that he “needed” this thorn, whatever it was, to remain humble enough to receive God’s enabling and empowering grace so that He, Paul, could be God’s empowered servant.
LaGard Smith gets right to it with his final question for meditation today, as he writes, ”If I’ve prayed to God that He might take away some ‘thorn’ in my flesh, what might I miss out on if that ‘thorn’ were actually removed?”
I’d almost bet that any reading here have some weakness, some ailment, some nasty little recurring sin pattern, that you’d like stripped from your life forever. Maybe you’re like me and you have some weakness to a certain type of temptation which chronically is the bane of your existence; and maybe, like me, you’ve prayed – as Paul did – over and over and over again for this weakness to be taken away so that you could be a more powerful witness for the Lord. But have you considered that this very weakness may be the one thing that allows you to be humble and meek in this life, the only two qualities which Jesus used to describe Himself (see Matt. 11: 29)?
Yeah; maybe this “thorn” in your flesh is the one thing that allows you to be more like Christ and, therefore, able to receive His empowering grace … so that you can shine His light and glorify the Father in heaven (see Matt. 5: 16). God’s grace truly is sufficient for any/all things we encounter in life; but if we’re too prideful or self-sufficient to see that, God cannot – or rather, will not – pour His light-shining grace into and through our lives. It’s only when we acknowledge, with thankfulness, that our weakness is God’s proving ground and stage for His power, that He will pour His enabling grace into our lives for His glory.
We need to think about that any time we have a tendency to complain to God about some chronic problem or weakness in our life.
My Prayer for Today:Lord, thank You for my “thorn,” which keeps me humble. Amen