Strength Through Weakness
2 Corinthians 12:7-11
Our culture values independence and personal ability but sees weakness as a failure. The biblical viewpoint, however, is the exact opposite: Scripture teaches that when we recognize our lack of strength, we become more keenly aware of our need for God.
As we know, everyone has shortcomings, and the apostle Paul was no exception. In today’s passage, we read his acknowledgement of the “thorn” that was constantly harassing him. The Bible does not tell us whether this was a physical problem, a struggle with temptation, or some other weakness; all we know is that Paul prayed fervently for its removal. But the Lord chose to let the irritant remain.
Amazingly, the apostle responded with contentment concerning the very difficulty he had begged God to remove (v. 10). He realized that the Lord had changed a hindrance into a glorious revelation: Paul’s deficiency became the pathway and showcase for God’s magnificent power.
The thorn, it turns out, also had a second purpose—as an “immunization” to protect against pride. The Holy Spirit impacted the world so greatly through Paul that he could easily have exalted himself. A lack of humility would have negatively impacted his ministry.
Would we prefer to have our “thorn” removed? Humanly speaking, of course we would! But we can trust that, regardless of our circumstances, our loving heavenly Father is working something beautiful into our lives. Our response to hardship and weakness should be, “Lord, what are You trying to teach me in this situation?”
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