“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me 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.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
In this passage Paul states he has asked the Lord to remove a “thorn in the flesh” three times and the Lord responds, “My grace is sufficient for you…” We don’t really know what “thorn” Paul is referring to. I have heard many different possibilities ranging from temptations to physical problems and even blindness. I personally believe God is able to use our ignorance in a powerful way. If we knew exactly what Paul’s “thorn” was then only the people who had the same situation could relate to this passage. But, since we don’t know what he was speaking about we are all able to relate to having a “thorn” in our flesh. Speaking for myself, I always think of temptations to sin since that is the “thorn” I struggle with the most. I don’t have to “try” to think about it that way. When I read this passage my mind goes there automatically. I believe this is the Holy Spirit working to help me realize that the Lord’s grace is sufficient to help me when I am tempted. You may have a different “thorn” that you struggle with. No matter what your situation the grace of God is sufficient.
“My grace is sufficient for you…” is a statement I have often considered. It’s one of those passages I understand, basically, what is being said but it is somewhat vague. I mean, what exactly is the Lord saying? What exactly does it mean to me that God’s grace is sufficient? When I read this a couple of days ago I was struggling with my “thorn” in the flesh and I saw the grace of God in a different way. Like Paul, I have pleaded with God to take away these tempting thoughts and desires, but God has not taken them away. While thinking about this I thought of grace from a new perspective (new in the context of this passage). God’s amazing grace is what drew me to God in the first place, in the midst of my sin, God’s grace sought me out and God offered forgiveness through his grace. God’s grace continues to draw me to Him. I am weak in my own ability to turn away from temptation. Thank God for His powerful grace that is sufficient for me. When I sin God is there to graciously forgive me.
One of the things I struggle with is the thoughts that I should be able to put aside the temptations and thoughts that plague me on my own. My inability to deal with sin on my own has frequently hurt my prayer life and kept me from God in the past. I understand now that I struggle with legalism—down inside I often feel that I have to do the work of being “pure” before I can approach God and receive His forgiveness. This is one of the things I have struggled with over the years. But, the truth is I cannot get right with God on my own. I can only be right with God by receiving His gracious offer of forgiveness made possible by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross for me and you.
When the Lord says to Paul, “my grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness” he is saying “since you cannot come to me without sin on your own, I will come to you and make you complete, you will be spotless and pure because of my grace. My power to save and forgive is made complete in your weakness.” Praise the Lord. When I am weak and not able to come to Him, God comes to me and offers forgiveness and healing. Thank you Jesus for your amazing grace that is sufficient.
Why don’t you take a moment to leave a comment and share your experience with God’s amazing grace.