2 Corinthians 12
Paul pours out his life for Jesus. Paul suffers for Jesus. Paul counts his esteemed worldly knowledge as garbage. Paul is insecure. Paul is afraid. Paul loves so deeply. Paul is willing to look the fool to bring others to Jesus. He doesn’t care how he looks outside of the audience knowing Jesus sent him and believing the Gospel. Despite his intelligence and impeccable upbringing under the most respected teachers, he wants to be small so God can be even that much bigger. That’s who Paul is.
What does it take to get us there? What does it take for us to forgo all the worldly things we covet and build up and just be stripped down to Jesus in us? Certainly, Paul spent time with Jesus. He is so certain this is the prize; the life worth living for at all costs. He received unspeakable revelations. But for Paul, among other things, he tells us there was this “thorn in his flesh.” One he didn’t want. One he prayed to be taken away.
Do you have a thorn? Have you been begging God to take it from you?
2 Corinthians 12 is one of my favorite chapters because of Paul’s honesty here about his thorn and its purpose. “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
Sometimes we just flat out need it. God has gifted us wildly and that comes with temptation to think we are all that and forget it is all Him. Sometimes we need hard things to steer us on our God-ordained paths; to keep us humble; to keep us desperate for Jesus.
As counter-cultural as it is, our weakness is what makes us strong. When we are in a place where it can ONLY be God, everyone wins.
We all have them. These thorns and burdens. Some are meant to be healed or taken. Some not. But all are meant to be used by God, so what do we do with that? We fight and pray over those circumstances, illnesses, thorns, insecurities, fears with a passion. God tells us to keep coming to Him in persistent prayer. Sometimes healing is the plan. But if God says, “nope...this one stays. I’m using it.” We say, “your will be done.” And then we watch God do His thing!
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