2 Corinthians 2:7-9 (Berean Study Bible)
7 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. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.
Millions of people all over the world are hurting. Suffering from the slings and arrows of this world, many of them walk daily with a ‘thorn,’ in their side, or a kind of wound that seems to fester and keep them far away from God. However, earthly aches, sins, and pains no longer separate us from the Father. He has sent His grace!
In the New Testament, the Bible uses a form of the word ‘grace’ that can be simply translated to ‘charis.’ Among other things, the word can be defined as ‘the unmerited favor of God toward man.’ Despite the sins we suffer from or cause to other people, the Word is clear: we have no condemnation under His spirit. His grace is sufficient!
Paul discusses this quite a bit in the book of 2nd Corinthians. Although we do not know the exact nature of the ‘thorn’ in Paul’s flesh, we do know that he describes it as ‘a messenger of Satan.’ This great pain was nearly more than the Apostle could handle, as he prayed to God for relief at least three times. However, Paul’s idea of relief did not come. Instead of getting angry, Paul rejoiced! Christ had sent a very clear, very reassuring message: my grace will see you through.
Sometimes we feel as though we are suffering for no reason. We pray and pray, and yet we feel as though He is not listening. But take heart, friends! God’s timing is not our timing. The things we experience in this world are difficult to understand, especially when our prayers do not answer us in the way we think they should. As earthly people, suffering and pain is something that we all will experience, no matter how great of faith we are.
Does this mean that suffering is required in order to be a Christian? No! But it does remind us that suffering is part of an earthly, Christian life, and cannot be avoided.
Let us take this to heart this week in three ways:
Christians do not lose anything from earthly affliction. This life is only a training ground, and a short stop before we reach our true destination of heaven. If no man or mortal being can hurt us, who [or what] shall we fear?
Christians grow closer to God through ‘thorns.’ Our prayers, daily walk, and strength in the faith grows so much more real when confronted by the trials of this world.
No ‘thorn’ is ever great enough to remove you from the salvation and love of God. You are safely in His arms, no matter what your life looks like today.
Friends, God’s grace was sufficient for Paul. In fact, His grace is sufficient for you, too! No matter what your ‘thorns’ may be, and no matter how helpless or weak you feel in the moment, be still and know that He is God. His grace is made perfect in you!
Are there thorns in your side that you feel are unforgivable? What kind of prayers do you need to say to lift the pain and burden from your shoulders? Is there something you can do right now to help alleviate the ‘thorns’ of others? Remember today that God’s grace is sufficient for all things, even for you. Do not be afraid to be weak, for His power is perfected in weakness. Let us celebrate the works of our God together!
Daniel 10:19 (New English Standard Version)
5 Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— 6 for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
2 Corinthians 3:5-6 (Berean Study Bible)
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; 6 but our sufficiency is of God.