Daily Devotion – Erin Bjerke – September 18, 2020
2 Corinthians 12:7b-10
“…Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.”
What are your “thorns in the flesh”? What have you been praying that God would take away, or heal, or make better, and God hasn’t yet?
For most of us, this pandemic is a thorn in the flesh. The systems we have in place that promote racism and inequality are thorns in the flesh. For me personally, anxiety and OCD have been thorns in my flesh for most of my life, they have their ups and downs, but have understandably gotten worse with the pandemic.
So we keep praying that God will heal these things and take them away. That’s good! Keep praying. But why hasn’t God fixed it yet? Why hasn’t God answered?
I don’t know why God hasn’t stopped these yet. But God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” There is real suffering going on all over the world right now. I want to make it clear that I’m not trying to downplay that, and God doesn’t overlook it, either. God knows that we are suffering. But God also knows things that we don’t.
God’s grace is sufficient for us. What does that mean when I get anxious just hearing about how much the virus has spread? Or when all I can think about is washing my hands and making sure my environment is disinfected so that I don’t get sick? It means that I am dependent on God. God’s power is higher than mine, and only God has the power to bring me through this situation. I can rely on the Almighty. Wow. That’s easier said than done, but with God’s grace, the power of the Holy Spirit, and a little grace for ourselves, we can trust God to bring us through these trying times.
We don’t know what Paul’s “thorn” was, but it seems from this passage that it kept him humble and it kept him close to God because it kept him aware of his dependence on God. Can we be like Paul? Can we boast about our weaknesses? Can we be content with hardships and calamities? By the power of the Holy Spirit we can.
All-powerful God, so many things are out of our control right now. We pray that we would trust your healing hand, that we would trust your power. Amen.