Delighting in weakness!
Scripture reading for September 11th: 2nd Corinthians 12:1-10
Paul continued his boasting by talking in the third person about a man who was caught up to heaven. “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know–God knows. And I know that this man–whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows–was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.” (2nd Corinthians 12:2-4) The false apostles had stories, but Paul had a personal experience that he could only relay as if it happened to someone else. He had a vision or maybe an experience in his body that only God knew how it occurred. This person was caught up to paradise and heard some things that he was not allowed to express or tell.
Paul told them that he refrained from any more boasting so that people would not put him on a different level and cause him to have pride. God also was concerned about Paul’s pride as well! “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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. 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.” (2nd Corinthians 12:7-10)
Much has been written about Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Some say it was a physical ailment related to Paul’s eyesight. Others believe it was the false apostles that continued to attack the church. Paul did seek the Lord about the removal of this thorn and God told him simply to abide in His grace. For Christ’s sake, Paul chose to delight in his weaknesses and trials for the Gospel. He learned that Christ’s power rested on him and worked through him in these trials. We can all learn from this truth!