2 Corinthians 12: 2-10
Throughout all of Paul’s letters, no one was more aware than Paul of his weaknesses. Paul seemed to carry around a bunch of shame because of his weaknesses. And even he did not try to hide them.
Apparently, one of the charges against Paul was that he was too earthly. Thus, Paul reported a vision he had had—sharing his visions of Paradise. After Paul visited the third heaven and returned to earth, he landed on a thorn that had been carrying and bothering him ever since.
No one can say for sure what Paul’s thorn was. Good guesses include epilepsy, migraine headaches, malaria, depression, partial blindness, speech impediment, and so on. Whatever it was, Paul could not get rid of it. I think that is the point: we can listen to the good news that this holy man--who had been to the third heaven and back, who was chosen by God to be the greatest missionary of history—was one of us.
Whatever that thorn was, it got in Paul’s way, so much so that he begged and cried and prayed to God not once but three times to take it away from him. The answer to that prayer turned out to be
Every day, a big and tough assignment—“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
Every one of us suffers from some thorn or another. Every one of us has a shipwreck or two in our past, and every one of us has days—maybe even whole years—when we are short, weak, insecure, and tactless. From God’s view, perhaps, we all are problematic people to some degree. The good news is that God knows and understands that being problematic, insecure, and weak is just part of being human.
None of that disqualifies us from serving God. By contrast, the fact that the church still survives with imperfect and weak people like us in charge is clear evidence in the world that God is still alive and well and dwelling in us. Yes, God’s grace is sufficient for us.
Maybe we too often pray to be strong. Perhaps our ongoing weakness and brokenness that God gives us is the answer—"I will not make you strong. But, I will be your strong.” Still, we are not good enough to be saints. However, we can't live without God because of our weaknesses and brokenness.
Do not hide or avoid our weaknesses, failures, and brokenness. Instead, let us embrace them, allowing God to strengthen us in ways we could never have imagined. Even though God will not make us strong, God will be our strong.
It is not about being strong despite weaknesses. It is not about being strong after weaknesses are gone. All is about that God is our strong in and through and because of our weaknesses.
Thanks be to God.