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. (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)
Chances are we have all experienced pain. The pain that I am talking about is not in the physical sense, as when you break a leg, but the pain that comes as a result of the things we carry. This is the pain that is probably the hardest to talk about. It is the pain we often hide. Many times it sneaks in and we don’t even know it is there until it begins to speak. Yes, this pain comes with a message.
Lets consider your mind as a huge answering service, it is constantly talking calls. Many voices are recorded there. Voices of ignorance, and voices of praise. Voices of friends, and voices of enemies. The voice of God, and yes, the voice of Satan. Everyone, everything, and every situation that you have faced has left you a message. Some messages are good, but many are not.
The problem begins when we save a message we should have deleted. We play them over and over. We memorize them. Sometimes we even put the lock code on so that no one else even knows they are there, and before you know it, you have a hidden message.
God wants to expose those messages, he wants to expose the lies the enemy has tried to leave you. The message that you aren’t good enough, or that you are undeserving of love. The message that you will never make it, or that your children will never be saved. The message that he will eventually walk out just like your daddy did, or that you will never see that love one delivered from addiction. The message that cancer will win, and you will die. Messages from satan.
The apostle Paul talks about these messages. No one knows what his thorn was, but we do know it tormented him. Paul says it was a messenger of Satan. Whatever it was. it was trying to tell him something.
And this thorn was doing much what a splinter does, it was something under the surface, unseen, but with every move, and every touch, it hurt. It was in Paul’s flesh, unseen by the naked eye. You would never even know it existen if you simply looked at the Apostle Paul. I would imagine this great Man of God looked like he had it all together, touring the land, sharing the gospel, but with every move he made, he was painfully aware of his thorn, and the message that the devil had sent with it.
I once faced a painful situation with one of my children, and, as Paul did, I cried out for God to remove this thing. I begged God to take it away, but He didn’t. And before I knew it, the devil sent a message with that pain. This messenger of Satan, this thing, this thorn in my flesh that God was not removing was speaking to me loud and clear. It was saying, “God is not here, and God really doesn’t even care.”
Maybe you haven’t been through what I have been through, maybe your thorn isn’t the same thorn as the Apostle Paul’s, but maybe you have suffered loss in your life, or maybe you have been molested, or abused. Maybe you battled addictions, or your child is strung out. Maybe your family is on the brink of divorce. Maybe the mom who used to care for you, you now have to care for her as you watch her mind being taken by Alzheimer’s. Maybe you are a widow, or buried a child that should have buried you. Maybe you lost your job and are facing eviction. Maybe cancer is raging within. No matter what it is, chances are you have cried out for God to remove it.
Paul says he cried out for God to remove his thorn, and finally after the third cry, Jesus answered, “My Grace is sufficient, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
God did not remove the circumstance, but he replaced the message!
Brothers and Sisters, whatever you are facing today, whatever thorn may be hidden under the surface that is causing you pain with every breath you take, know this, GOD’S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT! And it is right there, right in the weakest place, the hardest place, the most painful place, that then the power of Christ is made perfect.
Cast down those lies of the devil, delete those messages. God cares, God is here, God loves you, and yes, God knows. You may not understand why you have to go through whatever you are facing, why the thorn has not been removed, but Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
Even when we don’t understand, yet must we trust Him knowing He will guide us on the straight path. Matthew 10;30-31 says, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
The devil is a liar. God loves each and every one of us, and yes, He cares. He even knows how many hairs are on our heads. Replace those lies with His truths. Delete those hidden messages, and speak the word of God, the truth into your life.
His grace is here for you and it is sufficient for everything you are facing. You may not be able to handle it in your own power, but it is ok to be weak. Paul said, he boasts in his weakness, because it is there that the power of Christ is made perfect. Boast in that weakness today, all allow the power of Christ within you to be made perfect. He may not remove it, but He will help you to endure it.