I do not overheat well. My body does a hard reset by displaying flu-like symptoms, dizziness, and extreme lethargy that only go away after a good night’s sleep. Not my plan for the evening. I hate admitting that I have to stay home, skip the activity, and take it easy. I can only imagine what Paul felt like with his thorn in the flesh. He pleaded with God – that is some intense prayers from a guy who got closer than almost anyone to standing in heaven while still on earth. He was influential around the world, and would have racked up thousands of miles on his “frequent sailor” card if it had been offered. Why would God handicap him?
“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” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.
Paul was writing to the Corinthian church, one of two letters that are recorded in the Bible. There was a battle for loyalties raging among the members, and Paul was accused of being a weakling in person and only fierce in his writing. He challenged the other leaders to surpass a long list of credentials, concluding with this thorn in the flesh reference. God was keeping him humble.
It amazes me that he could rejoice and delight in everything that I try to avoid. Why embrace what is uncomfortable in life? Because it is better to see what God can do through your weak moments. That is some amazing power! But we often fail to see it because we do not need it, or do not look for God to help. What can He do when we are willing to admit defeat?
God, thank You for a night to remind me that I am not invincible. And for Paul’s “boasting” to show that the best response to hard times is to lean into You. That is something I still need to work on, admitting I need help. Please help my perspective to change, and for me to pursue Your perspective of the world. Amen.