Strength Through Grace
Growing up I always felt like I had to follow in the footsteps of my brothers. My second oldest brother Ted was a tremendous high school athlete. He broke all sorts of records and won many different awards. I always remember thinking, "Man if I could just have a little more talent, or if I was just a little taller, or if I was just a little more skilled at this...". We all have things that we wish we could change or were differenet about us, things that may be a burden or a hinderance in our lives.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about his thorn in the flesh. Something that was given to him to keep him humble as well as to show God's strength and grace. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 says, "And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmites, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmites, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
The focus of this passage isn't on Paul, his thorn or his weakness. The focus of this text is on God's grace being sufficient and His strength. Apart from Christ we are weak and insignificant. However, when we rely on Christ in our weaknesses and infirmities, He gives us strength and it is through the strength that He gives that we are clearly able to see His grace.
So whatever "thorn" might be in your flesh, whatever struggle you are going through, or whatever distress you are facing; know that it is there to help you rely on Christ's strength that is made possible through His grace for us. We are made strong in our weakness through Christ. And if you find yourself asking God to take away your "thorn" like Paul did; look instead at the words of Christ. "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Maybe the reason this "thorn" is in your life is simply just to point you to the grace of God and the strength made possible by Him. Look to the Lord for strength and remember the grace given to us through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Pastor Ben Johnson