“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
Earlier in 2 Corinthians 12, Paul shares how he prayed three times that God would remove some sort of problem, a “thorn in the flesh.” Verse 9 is the response he heard from God.
Have you ever felt like you’ve gotten the same answer from Him? I have.
A year ago this month, I first started feeling the symptoms of what I know now is Rheumatoid Arthritis. I had a flare up in my wrists as I cut up vegetables for Thanksgiving dinner. Over the next couple of months the pain spread to joints up and down my body. It took most of my energy to get dressed then sit in a living room chair all day.
During that time, I often referred to myself as being laid low – the description really fit. It was as if someone had hit the shut-off button on my life, which up till then had been full and busy.
I had important things to do: keeping our home running, ministry, part time work, etc, etc. There was no time for pesky interruptions!
My disease is more than pesky, as is your “thorn.” And I don’t know about you, but I can relate to Paul asking for complete rescue from trouble. My first instinct is to look for the quickest way out.
But my experience is that God often chooses to keep me in difficult circumstances much longer than I would like. To test me? Maybe, but I believe the bigger reason is more tender – to show me how strong I can be once I start leaning on Him.
This morning I realized that the weather in my city is definitely turning colder, yet I am somehow dealing with each day better – namely, a little less grumbling and a little more patience. I could say it’s just the medicine working, or my own grit. But Paul’s words whisper the truth in my ear- it’s God’s strength, not mine.
What’s your thorn? How has God strengthened you in the midst of it?