7. Glory for the Strength, Not Elimination
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul admitted praying to the Lord three times to remove his “thorn in the flesh.” The request was denied, and Jesus told him, “my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” This truth is often hard for us to grasp. Paul perfectly accepted that “most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” When we feel we are at our weakest points, we can appreciate the power of Christ within us.
It is most difficult to give God the glory when we are young and at our strongest state or in a season when great temptation is low. We realize the frailty of life and the flesh when sickness or disease awakens our realization of our true state. The easy prayer is the request for God to remove our impediment or to cure our sickness. Our desired healing may not be in accordance with His will as many times we give the credit to man or medicine. Our prayer should be for the strength to persevere despite the hindrance. Then, only He can be given the glory for His provision.
8. His Glory Minimizes the Pain
We oftentimes catch ourselves exaggerating our own personal and spiritual struggles and relating them to those of Job and Paul. In asking for the “patience of Job” we unexplainably place ourselves in the position of a man who was one of the most wealthy men upon the earth and lost it all in a matter of hours. He lost each of his children. And possibly most tragically, Job was given the advice from his wife to go ahead and “curse God and die.” However, the travails and often confrontational discord with the Lord resulted in a great restoration of Job.
In Job 42:2-3, he was able to come to the great understanding that “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” What a great recognition of God’s glory. As mentioned above, Paul was physically beaten and mentally tortured for his obedience to Christ. In Romans, Paul disclaimed any thought that an increase of sin is a positive thing because God would manifest more of His glory. In his writing to Corinth, however, he was able to parallel the degree of the sufferings by the believer with the greater manifested glory of Christ. He penned, “most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
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