6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 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 Cor 12:6-10
Have you ever heard the saying “God only helps those who help themselves”? It’s utter rubbish! If you could help yourself, then you would have no need for God and his help. In this passage, Paul talks about boasting. He had room to boast; he could have boasted about his “surpassingly great revelations”, but God gave him a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him from becoming too big-headed. We’re not sure what that thorn was exactly, but it kept Paul dependent on God and always with the right perspective. You might be the in a similar situation, where there is something in your life that you just wish God would take away, but he doesn’t seem to.
Well God’s promise to you is the same as that to Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness”. I’m not saying that God will not take away whatever it is you would like removed, but am encouraging you to embrace this promise in the way that Paul did. He was satisfied with that response because it gave him something to boast about that was not dependent on him – Christ’s grace. Christ’s power and sufficiency. Suddenly he had reason to celebrate in his weakness because it made room for God’s power to be at work in his life. Maybe we should change that saying to say, “It’s when you are helpless that God’s help shines best!”
Today, pray this promise over your life and with God’s help, take on the same attitude that Paul had here. God’s promise can equally be wind in your sails where suddenly, a situation that was looking bleak and gloomy is turned into one that is just the right context for God to operate in your life and to show his power. Like Paul we need to be able to confidently declare: “…for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong!” Hallelujah!