2 Corinthians 12:7-9 New International Version
... 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
In this chapter of Corinthians, Paul talks about his experience of being caught up to the third Heaven where he heard and saw things that he could not reveal.
Because of this he says that he was given a thorn in the flesh in order to keep him from becoming conceited.
In my view, Paul’s thorn in the flesh was impaired eyesight, likely resulting from his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, before God’s plan for him unfolded.
As you recall, he was temporarily blinded by the brilliant light of Christ. In a few of Paul’s epistles, he refers to his large handwriting which is also evidence of poor eyesight.
Whatever the thorn in the flesh, Paul prayed three times to have it removed.
The above scripture says he pleaded with God three times.
God said no. God had a reason and a plan for Paul’s life.
We will look at why God would not remove the thorn in the flesh from Paul in a future lesson, but today we want to concentrate on God’s grace and His words to Paul regarding His grace.
God did not answer Paul’s prayer as Paul desired.
The thorn in the flesh remained, however God revealed to Paul that His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in weakness.
God’s plan was for Paul’s impairment or disability to remain, for it would work for good in Paul’s life of ministry.
In other words, God’s power would show through Paul’s weakness.
If all we have in this life is God’s grace through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior, then we truly need no more.
Paul understood that God’s grace was all that he needed. Not simply the grace bestowed on the cross of Calvary, but the love, mercy and grace that God would continue to bestow on Paul’s life.
Even though Paul had a physical weakness, God’s power would show through and be made perfect in his life.
The great lesson here is that God works more perfectly through those who realize they are in need of God’s help and not so much in those who feel they can do it all themselves.
God’s power is not imparted to those who think they are strong in themselves and do not realize or feel a need for God’s help.
In closing, God used Paul in a mighty way, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through many trials and tribulations, God’s strength and power was made perfect in Paul’s weakness.
Do you have a physical impairment or “thorn in the flesh?” Are you petrified at the thought of speaking in public or telling someone about the love of Christ? Do you have fears that you cannot overcome? Do you feel inadequate to do God’s work?
If so, you are exactly the type of person God is looking for and He may have a job for you to do.
Remember, when you feel “weak” and know that you cannot do it alone, this is when God can use you best.