by Doy Moyer
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9).
Paul had a weakness, a “thorn in the flesh” that he thought was keeping him from being as productive as he could have been without it. He prayed to the Lord three times to have it removed, but the Lord would let it remain, telling Paul that His grace was sufficient. Paul concludes, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (II Corinthians 12:9-10).
This is difficult. We feel hampered by various walls that appear in life, from personal physical and emotional health to barriers erected by others. We want the freedom to act without barriers and think that is what will benefit the kingdom the most. It makes sense to pray that these be removed from our lives so we can do our best in serving the Lord.
But what if these thorns are actually what put us in a position to have a greater effect for God’s kingdom? What if the way we handle our thorns serves to help others more, spread the gospel more, and glorify God more? Are we willing to endure the thorns for the sake of more glory to God?
Perhaps we think, “I want to glorify God, but can it be without these thorns?” Isn’t that for God to determine? To one, He may grant a life without severe difficulties; to another, He may ask to endure great hardships. Instead of asking what we think is fair, let us ask what will work to the benefit of the kingdom and the glory of God. If we must endure some difficulties so that the work of God is magnified, then let our response be like Paul’s: “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
The question is, will people see Christ in you when your life is met with trials, hardships, and calamities? Whether big or little matters, if our lives are not pointing to the Lord then where are our hearts and where is our treasure?