Grace that is always sufficient
...even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
From the text, Paul expressed the tendency we have as Christians to exalt others beyond reality. Paul realized that he was susceptible to such attitude that God gave him what he referred to as “thorn in my flesh” so he will not become conceited and attribute success to his own abilities. He prayed to God three times to remove this affliction but God’s answer to him was, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” Was it lack of faith that Paul’s prayer for his thorn in the flesh be removed was not answered? It is not his lack of faith that his prayer was not answered. God allowed him to be afflicted so he would trust God’s power and grace working through him. The thorn in the flesh reminded him of his weakness and this prompted him to rely only in God for strength. With this weakness, he grew in humility that helped him to continue to overcome the tendency to be self-sufficient and proud. The presence of affliction in his life, though it caused him pain, made him to trust God more. Though physical healing at times would be our preferred answer to prayers, understanding the sufficiency of God’s grace that sustain us through times of trial is more important. Unanswered prayer does not always mean the need is not met. Sometimes we get a greater blessing when God does not answer our prayers the way we wanted them to be answered. Praying with faith does not always mean He will give the specific thing we ask from Him because He could give us something better. Paul’s declaration, “For when I am weak, then I am strong” is very true for we know that Christ is with us during times of trials. He is there to provide us grace to meet every need. Paul knew that even in his affliction, he could glorify God and that is what all mattered to him. “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7). It is in times of afflictions that God’s grace becomes more evident. It is in times of trials that Christ’s power is manifested for in such moment that we rest in Him.
Noel De Guzman