Life is hard sometimes, isn’t it? Whether there are a few big things that overwhelm us or several little things that add up to seriously aggravate us, life has its challenges. And if you’re like me, sometimes you feel like that when life is knocking you down, when it’s breaking you, you don’t have the energy to walk with God and you surely aren’t in a position to minister to others for Him.
Well, if that sometimes describes you, then like me you need to be reminded of some truth from Scripture, most notably from 2 Corinthians 12. After Paul has spent some time in previous chapters defending his ministry, he opens chapter 12 describing a vision, a revelation that God gave him. He then continues in vs. 7-10:
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. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 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. 10 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.
Oh man, do I need to hear that often. “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10b). Paul was facing unfair accusations, was in prison, had some kind of physical ailment (thorn in the flesh), and as he processed his predicament he saw himself as strong. He saw himself as strong because the power of Christ was “made perfect in weakness.”
Do you and I process our tough predicaments that way? When life is beating us up do we rejoice in thinking, ‘Christ’s strength is growing stronger in me since I have little to no strength of my own! I’m ready to serve Him!”? Not so much? Yeah, same with me. But we need to! We need to dwell on this truth often enough and long enough to consistently remind us that when we are weak, hurting, or broken, we are in a great place! We are in a position for Christ’s strength to work powerfully through us!
So should we cease praying for or working toward healing from our ‘thorns’? Of course not. Even Paul prayed toward that end. When we have physical ailments, relationship issues, employment challenges, or any type of pain, we should pray and do what we can to heal. But in the meantime, or if the pain lingers, I need to remember I’m in a good place. God wants me to serve Him and His strength can now work powerfully in me. I’m ready. Join me?
Randy Jones is an Assistant Pastor and serves in two primary areas: overseeing the administrative departments of Cornerstone as well as helping shepherd the young families in the church. Randy arrived at Cornerstone in May of 2012 with over 20 years of experience in church and para-church ministries.