I think we all have them.
In second Corinthians 12, Paul wrote about his, starting in verse 7,
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, 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.
Whatever it was, it was bad enough that Paul pleaded with God to take it from him. Have you been there?
I hesitate to share my thorns because I don't want this to be about me. We are ALL in this together. Some thorns do seem impossible to bear- the loss of a child or parent or spouse, an addiction, a diagnosis that leaves little room for hope, marital conflict, chronic illness, family discord, a loved one yet to accept Jesus....
And yet there are little thorns, too, that can trip us up- poking us in tender places, sending us running- to plead with God for relief. If only you took this from me, I could..... If only this wasn't an issue for me, I'd have more time and energy for....
I imagine God winces when we come to Him with our petitions. Like a good father, it's hard to see His children hurting and in pain, begging for mercy. But unlike many good earthly fathers, He has our whole story in view. He sees who we will touch with our stories, who we will walk beside and cry with. He sees the witness we can be for Him despite and because of our struggles. He sees us in the place we're meant to be- relying on Him for every step and every breath.
We often forget how much we need Him.
And instead of just having our burden lifted, we can be made perfect (v. 9)?! I know I can't do that on my own. Some days I might still choose relief. But that only highlights my imperfection (albeit natural and completely understandable). Who in their right mind would ask for earthy relief over making God's power perfect? Paul did. Three times. That makes me feel better.
My prayer is that we can all pull way back. Then in our mind's eye picture the amazing story of God's glory- from creation to the Kingdom of God right here on earth- and put our hope in Him, remembering that when we are weak, we are strong. His power is made perfect in our weakness.
Cling to this, friends, and in our best moments, let's even delight in it. I'm clinging right along beside you.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13Pin It