“My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness”
2 Corinthians 12:9a
The apostle Paul pleaded with God to remove the thorn in his flesh. Three times God said no. Instead, the Lord provided divine enablement — His grace is sufficient.
The key thing here is not what the thorn was (Scripture is silent on that), but what God used it to do. Paul was humbled as a servant of God, relying only on God’s strength to cope with his severe pain/impediment. The thorn also taught Paul contentment in Christ as he viewed his weaknesses as an opportunity for God’s power to work in and through him. (2 Cor. 12:9b).
In this life, we will have our fair share of pain, suffering, at times feeling like a failure, or even feeling helpless in life’s situations where we have no control over. When these ‘thorns’ pierce our lives, God uses them to teach us the value of weakness. For in our weakness, His power is displayed.
When our cries to God for help seem to go unanswered, and we are tempted to feel resentful toward God, take some time to reflect on this poem “Count Your Blessings” (by an unknown confederate soldier, as quoted in Tim Hansel’s, ‘When I Relax I Feel Guilty’).
“I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked God for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do the better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.”
When life’s thorns pierce our lives, we can choose to rest in full assurance that God cares and His grace is sufficient for us. In all situations, give thanks, and do not forget to count your blessings!
Lam Kok Hiang