Thorns in my life and the Power of God

…“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” -2 Cor. 12:9

I love this verse. I’ve loved this verse ever since the first time I heard it as a young child. I’ve always loved it because, even as a young child, I understood that I was broken and weak. You don’t have to live life very long before this realization becomes evident. What a great reminder that in the middle of our weaknesses, God’s Power can be made known in a real and tangible way.

A few nights ago, I was meeting with the Elders of my church for our usual time of prayer and accountability and this passage came up. Again, very timely as our church has been through many transitions over the past few years. There have been more times than one that we’ve felt weak and needed God’s Power to show up. One thing that hit me as we were studying this passage was verse 7. It’s kind of an important, and often time left out, part of this passage. It’s actually the explanation as to why “this verse is there”.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”

This verse is comforting, because we’re all broken. It’s comforting, because we all know that we’re weak. It’s comforting, because it reminds us that God is always with us and that His power is shown even more powerfully in our weakness, but it’s hardly comforting to be reminded how easily we can become conceited and feel like we can fix all of our problems.

…to keep me from being conceited,” is a big phrase.

con·ceit·ed

kənˈsēdəd/

adjective

adjective: conceited

You and I live in a place where we’re taught from young children to be self-sufficient. It’s who we are as Americans. It’s who we are as… people. It’s been a struggle from the very beginning. We have always wanted control.

Tapping into the Power of God is all about giving up control. It’s about giving up our plans. It’s about giving up our agenda. It’s about giving up our lives and making it obvious who is in control.

Most of the time I want the Power of God to show up in my weaknesses either to get me out of a bad situation, or sometimes it’s a little less selfish, and I want my situation in life to be a testimony to people far from God as to how good God is, but even then, I can’t remember a time that I have looked for the Power of God to simply keep me humble. I don’t remember one time asking for God’s Power to show up in my life as a reminder to ME of how insignificant I am and how great God is.

I don’t know what’s going on in your life right now, but I imagine you’re going through some kind of struggle (I know this because we all struggle). Maybe it’s apparent to everyone around, or maybe it’s just in your own mind. The on-going struggle, the nagging pain, the thorns that poke you right where it hurts are there for a reason. We can’t always handle  it. We can’t always control it. We can’t always change it.

I love the fact that one of the last things that Christ carried for us onto the cross was a crown of thorns. All my sin, all my brokenness, all my struggles of life that I face… He took them on himself and paid for them all. He did this so that you and I can have a relationship with the God of the universe. A relationship where you and I have access to the Power of God.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me… BUT…“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

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