But I must not be too proud of the wonderful things that were shown to me. So a painful problem was given to me—an angel from Satan, sent to make me suffer, so that I would not think that I am better than anyone else. I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. But the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.” So I will gladly boast about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can stay in me. Yes, I am glad to have weaknesses if they are for Christ. I am glad to be insulted and have hard times. I am glad when I am persecuted and have problems, because it is when I am weak that I am really strong.
This scripture popped out to me this morning. I think the most common verse in this is verse 9. The well quoted scripture of "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
But today this stood out to me in a new light. The Lord keeps challenging me with my perspective.
We all have that "thorn in the flesh", that thing we complain about... that thing we bring up for sympathy or use to justify our thoughts/actions. Whether its sickness or an injury, financial stresses, family dramas, kids, spouse, lack of sleep, school or work... pretty much anything... That God-forsaken THORN!
But do I have to view it as a "thorn"? I think Paul's heart was to express that if we are walking in the fullness of God's grace, our perspective will shift. Grace is not a magical feeling that comes from the sky, its a growing in your faith. Its beginning to see Him, His intent & His Glory. Its beginning to see things as an opportunity to step out in faith, to trust for His provision, to lean in on His understanding, to offer a picture of grace to others.
Id like to throw the thought out, that i we see things differently than this, then maybe we are just outright walking in pride..
Pride is independent. Pride is also slowly turning a "God story" into a "me story". Pride is self-sufficient, thinking we can manage and fill the gap ourselves. BUT did you also know that pride is also feeling that you deserve that sympathy.... That pride is doubting God's intentions. Pride is mistrust and fear. Pride is skepticism and pride is just plain old unbelief. I can easily say that I have walked in pride more often than I'd like to admit. However, we are just people... mere mortals. Flawed and imperfect in every way... The older I get, the more joy I have in that fact! Especially when I size myself up against a Perfect, Infinite, Creator, Savior God.
The joy comes from seeing less of me and even more of my NEED FOR HIM (GRACE)! The expectations of me and others around me begin to lessen and the more I look for Him to fill the absolute gap that is there (GRACE). The gap, the thorn (or whatever you want to call it), is there so His grace is needed for our survival. Its becoming one and COMPLETE IN HIM!
The gap is an all encompassing part of His grace, so we realize its not about us.. but about Him. That is His love in action. He's bringing us back to our original intent of being in communion with Him! The oneness is our whole purpose... the JACKPOT answer for what is the meaning of life... its the LOVE relationship with Him!
So next time you don't sleep well, or have a cold, get in a fight, or just can't make rent... take comfort in these words:
HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, HIS POWER IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS!
Why? Because if you let Him, you will see what God's grace truly is as He draws you closer to Him!