I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 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.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.10 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.
Whom of us has not had, at one time or another, maybe not a literal thorn in the flesh from a rose or other prickly bush, but a hardship, a weakness, a problem that won’t go away? We didn’t cause it, we weren’t responsible for it, but it came anyway. Why, Lord? Why me? Please take it away.
We pray, maybe fervently, but the answer we get isn’t satisfactory. Your _______ (fill in the blank with whatever difficulty you have encountered) isn’t going to be solved in the way you wish. Can we in these situations hear Paul’s words that he received from the Lord? God told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Paul learned to delight in his weakness if that meant Christ’s power would be made more evident within Paul’s life. How about us? Can we stand aside from whatever is troubling us and see what God has planned to do through us, in spite of whatever problems or weaknesses we have? Can God use us to be his witness in the midst of that tough situation, right now, even when we don’t have any good answers? Yes, I believe it is true. The less we can count on ourselves, the more we have to put our trust in the Lord. To experience it is to be a witness to another who may be dealing with their own thorn, their own predicament.
I read recently about a Mormon who is starring in a prominent Broadway play. He is a man of faith, and admits his attraction for men (his words to describe it). He admits the challenge, and that he has given this to the Lord. Your thorn might not be my thorn, but God’s truth is there for all of us, and his grace is sufficient. God’s power is made perfect in weakness.
Whatever is before us, whatever is troubling us, whatever is a thorn threatening to undo us, let us give it to you and trust in your power to work good despite our weakness. This we pray in Christ’s name. Amen