II Corinthians 12:7-10, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Humility. It might look like weakness but it is really a strength. God has a way of keeping people in check with their emotions and their pride. God truly does love His creation and knows what is best.
Paul could have been very prideful due to all the people that he won to Christ. He had travelled a lot of the world, had tons of friends, and even people tried to worship him. God knew that this would get to his head and allowed a “thorn” to be placed in his side. This “thorn” attacked his pride each time he tried to not give God the credit. We can relate with Paul. We can get all high and mighty on ourselves and we need God to take us down a notch (or 10).
Also what is shown in this passage is the fact that God does not always seem to answer prayer the way we want Him to. I said “seem.” Paul asks three times for the thorn to be removed and each time God does not remove it. God does something better. God gives His grace to be Paul’s strength. In Paul’s weakness, God shows His strength through Paul so that Paul does not get too prideful. God may not always answer your prayers the way you want or at all. That does not mean that God is not listening or doesn’t care. God’s plan and your plan can and will differ. God gives all that we need, not all that we want.
Weakness is strength. Defies common sense at first look. This was the plan as the wise men of the times were looking for answers and could not figure out how this concept worked. The Pharisees and Sadducees followed Jesus around all the time, trying to discredit Him. Jesus, with His seemingly backward thinking, confused them greatly. This concept of weakness in strength was not the answer that they were looking for.
When we get to the end of our rope and can’t hold on anymore, that is when God can come in and save the day. This is not the ideal time to contact God, though. Sadly, this is the time that most people call on God. When starting out with God, you can avoid the pain and worry that comes with desperation and panic. Go to God in prayer before starting something rather than when you are at your wit’s end.
When being persecuted for your faith, remember this passage. God’s apostles were doing His work and were oppressed at every turn. The time to worry is when the oppression stops. When doing God’s will, there will be people that will not agree with you. This is all part of the ministry for God. Oppression and persecution may not be fun but it is essential to make a stand for Christ. Jesus endured the world’s sin and all the mocking, jeering, and abuse that would be more than anyone could bear. Yet, He did not sin. What looked like weakness and Jesus not standing up for Himself was actually extreme strength. Strength of defeating sin and death and the grave.
Let God bless you through your pain and problems. Turn to God and He will give you strength. Turn to God and he will trade your weak body for a strong, flawless body. Pain is real, but so is God. God is bigger than all the problems of the world. Lean on Him and He will care for you.
Thank You for strength in weakness. You alone know what is best for us. You alone are our God. You are all we need in times of joy and times of sadness. Teach us to lean on You more and to not forget about You in our daily life. Help us to turn to You sooner for help. You are there always. Thank You.
In Your Strong arms we rest and pray,