2 Corinthians 12
“I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 12:1
Paul feels like all he has done with the Corinthians is talk about himself when he would rather talk to them about Jesus. The next few verses Paul begins talking of a man he knows who had a vision or a revelation of Christ. He starts off speaking in the 3d person of this other man, however in verse 7 he falls into speaking in the 1st person of himself and these revelations. Scholars believe that he was speaking of himself the whole time. But because of his discomfort in speaking of himself was why he tried to speak as if he was speaking of someone else. Verse 7 also leads us into some much loved and quoted scripture.
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12: 7-9
We all know of Paul’s thorn in the flesh but scripture does not tell us what the thorn was. Why? While studying the thought was pointed out, if we knew Paul’s specific thorn in the flesh, I wonder how many people would compare themselves with Paul. I had never thought of that before but it truly does make sense. Also, would we glorify the thorn, rather than God? Paul was very conscientious about not wanting to glorify himself. The fact remains that God did not allow the thorn to be brought into scripture, and since that is the case, we can know that we all have our thorns. One does not necessarily mean worse or harder than someone else. I have often heard it said that if you think you have it bad, just look around someone will have it worse. I know that one time my family was going through a particularly difficult time. A friend asked me how we were. As I proceeded to tell her, I was humbled. You see this particular friends husband was in the dying process from a childhood illness that would soon be ending his life. I told her I knew that what I was going through was nothing compared to her. This friend, so sweetly told me, “Sonia, do you know whose cross is harder to bear?” I looked at her puzzled and she looked right at me and said “Your own.” I love that we can’t compare our thorn to Pauls. Because if we could we may think that the next verses weren’t for us as well.
Paul says that three times he had pleaded with the Lord to take away his thorn. To unpack that, friends I can tell you I have prayed and I have seen the Lord answer and take things away and fix things that I wanted fixing. But I have also had things I have prayed for that remained. I have wondered why and I have cried out and begged and pleaded. Probably many more times than 3 times. I am somewhat more hard headed than Paul. When you aren’t getting the answers you want about something you are praying about the answer is always verse 9. Which bears repeating right here.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9a
You see when God is not “fixing your problem” or taking the thorn away, there is always something more to be learned or there is a way that God will be glorified in the end. Sometimes those thorns stay with us to keep us humble. Sometimes it’s just not time. But we can know this. “My grace is sufficient for you”. I have had many many things I could not walk through if not for His grace! His grace keeps me upright. His grace keeps me humble. His grace keeps me sane. His grace puts a smile on my face when I don’t really feel like smiling. It’s all about His grace!
Oh sweet Jesus thank you for the grace to get up in the morning when I don’t really feel like getting up. Thank you Jesus for the grace that is sufficient for me!
Please pray for our government leaders today.