The Apostle Paul endured a difficult circumstance. He doesn’t tell us the precise problem. He only calls it a “thorn in the flesh.”
We all know what it is like to have a thorn that festers. It infects. It aches. It impedes movement.
This problem was a real source of pain and struggle for Paul. So he asked God to remove it. God had worked many miracles through Paul. He knew God could heal him. But God said “no.” Paul asked again. Again the answer was “no.” Then a third time. But this time, along with the “no” came a message. “My grace is sufficient for you.”
Sometimes our greater opportunity is to endure the pain in order to experience grace. And in this case, the grace, or favor, of God was to demonstrate His power through Paul’s weakness. Once Paul adopted this perspective, he began to view his thorn as a blessing.
Paul concluded that God had given him this limitation in order to keep him from getting puffed up from all the amazing revelations God had shown him.
Trusting God is a challenge, especially when our circumstances are not what we want them to be. We have a problem and we want to fix the problem. No one likes pain. And it is fine to ask God for help. God did not chastise Paul for asking. But sometimes God has a different definition of success than our comfort. Sometimes God wants to demonstrate something great through our weakness.
God is the God of all. He is the Lord. He is the powerful and capable one; wisdom and truth itself. And when we walk in dependence on Him, even our weaknesses and difficulties are valuable.
“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.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:9-10