Our scripture today is 2 Corinthians 12 verses 7-10, written by Paul. Paul was a great messenger of God. God chose him, an unlikely candidate to leave such a legacy, then he changed him. I believe Paul’s past kept him humble and real, remember he was once Saul, the persecutor of Christians who went around beheading people. You think God doesn’t change the people he chooses, oh think again. And just in case you’re wondering if God has chosen you, the answer is YES. Yes, he has chosen you and he can change anything that needs to be changed in you. Anything.
Lets read starting in verse 7: “To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Honestly, that never made a whole lot of sense to me – for when I am weak, then I am strong. So I thought perhaps different translations of the bible would give me some insight. Could it really mean when I am weak, then I am strong. Seems like an oxymoron to me here people. So I looked in the New Living Translation, the New International Version, and the King James Version, and all 3 translations say it the same confusing way – when I am weak, then I am strong.
Where are my girls at that are feeling a little weak on this Monday morning – a little beat down by the storms of life – overwhelmed by the demands and pressures – stuck in the messes and stresses – WELL GET READY TO BE STRONG.
You really never know how strong you are until you have to be. When strong is your only choice, then you come face to face with what’s really deep down inside of you. God is making you stronger than you ever imagined.
For when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].
My human strength won’t get me through this – I must draw from God’s strength. And you must do the same.
And this is why God allows storms in our lives. This is why he allows our plans to fall apart. This is why he allows difficult people and stressful situations. So you become weak in your own strength and draw from His strength.
Paul was given a thorn in his flesh, he called it a messenger from Satan to torment him and keep him from becoming proud. It wasn’t a literal thorn in his flesh, it was a symbolism of something that continually bothered him. We’re left to wonder what it might be. It could have been a physical ailment, many suggest migraines, epilepsy or seizures. Others believe it could have been a temptation he struggled with or a specific person always stirring up trouble for him.
Why wouldn’t Paul tell us what his torn was? I believe it was left open ended to encourage us to consider our own thorn. What is the thorn in your side? What is it that continually bothers you? What is it you have struggled with? Maybe you’ve begged God to heal you, take it away from you and yet you still struggle. Why? Because His power works best in weakness.
If you could do this all on your own, wouldn’t you? Sure you would. We are vain creatures and we love the credit. We crave the praise. We like the power and control. We want to rise up and conquer on our own AND WHEN WE CAN’T, then we are faced with our own truth – WE NEED GOD. Every day we need him.
And, here’s the good news … you need him AND he is already in you. You are lacking nothing. As a follower of Christ, his spirit lives within you, strengthening you, guiding you and preparing you to face any storm, any battle, any obstacle that may come your way.
Get ready to be strong. Get ready to be truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength.
For you can do everything through Christ, who gives you strength. And he allows the thorn in your side to remind you it’s not in your own power. Let us not get all haughty taughty, high and mighty – girl you’re not all that. But God is working through your weaknesses, through your afflictions, through your messes and stresses, through all the difficult people in your life, through all the impossible situations to strengthen you and use you for mighty purposes.
Are you ready to be strong? The only way muscles become strong is to stress them. The only way your spirit and your mind become strong is much the same. Stress, pressure, and problems can break you or strengthen you. A thorn in your side can be the reason you won’t get out of bed today, or it can be the reason you tap into God’s power and become stronger. It’s all a matter of perspective. How have you been looking at your problem?