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Psalm 119:10-11 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not
wander from your commandments! I have stored up your
word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Thorn In My Flesh

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 ESV  (7)  So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.  (8)  Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Paul is sharing in these verses that he has a thorn in his flesh that he says was given to him by God. In the previous verses he explains that he has a reason to boast because of all that he has accomplished, yet he chooses to boast in Jesus.(2 Cor 12:5-6)

We all have some form of thorn that should keep us on our knees begging Jesus to heal us. Often it is marriage or family issues, financial situations we can't control, or even serious health conditions. Whatever the thorn is, God tells us that His grace is sufficient for it. Though we may think otherwise, the Father knows best what we need.

Weakness in the world is looked down on. How many of us that have children encourage them to grow up weak? It doesn't happen. We want them, (as well as ourselves) to get good grades in school, go off to college, find a great career that will afford them the things we may or may not be able to accomplish. But weakness??? That isn't even in our thoughts. Paul tells us that God's power in us is made perfect when we are weak.

Often when I am in groups of people and we are praying I hear prayers asking God to remove this problem or that problem. As did Paul... They are genuine prayers asking our Lord for help. But far too often I see frustration, discouragement, and sometimes hostility towards God from the seekers when the problem or ailment isn't removed. Paul tells us "That His grace is sufficient."

What is the sufficiency of God's grace in our lives? How is that to bring me comfort?

When I think about the life of Paul I think of a superhero of the faith. He is to Christianity what Lance Armstrong is to cycling. Strong, persistent, well trained, focused, diligent, and committed 100%. It is easy to read over a verse like this and say, "well this is Paul talking, a super apostle."Often I forget to look at my own life story. I miss the blessings I have had through his grace because I am so caught up in the thorn in my flesh I forget to look back on what God has delivered me from and how He has sustained me. The word sufficient means this: enough to meet the needs of a situation.

God's grace is enough. He showers us in it and we complain that what we are going through isn't coming to an end. Paul shares with us that the thorn was never removed, yet he pressed on. Today I am encouraged by this. I will press on in Christ Jesus. Looking not at the thorn that He, in His sovereign love, has chosen for me to bear. But at the amazing Grace He promises me as I press into Him through my weakness.

I pray today that you can look to Jesus as you work through your challenges. Realizing that He is sufficient to relieve the stress, anxiety, depression, and difficulties that come from that thorn he so graciously chose to give you. May you see His face shine on you as you draw closer to Him.

Be Blessed!