II Corinthians 12:10,11 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I find myself thinking daily on all the things I have to be thankful for. Yet if I am really honest, there seems to be many things that I just want to say, “Lord, please help me because I am having trouble being thankful for this.” Is there something or someone in your life that you are just having trouble being thankful for? Is this situation causing you much distress and heartache? Like me are you getting ready for this joyous occasion, yet your heart is struggling? Can you relate?
The apostle Paul knew what it was to have something in your life that you just were having trouble being thankful for. In II Corinthians he talks about the thorn in the flesh he was given. Although the Bible is not specific about what this thorn was, it does indicate that Paul did not like it. As a matter of fact he prayed that the Lord would take it. It says he didn’t just pray, he pleaded with the Lord to take it from him. He was less than thankful for this thorn in the flesh at the time. He was begging God to please take it from him, he was sick of it. It was a bother to him, just constantly there.
I know exactly how he felt. I am a fixer. I just want everyone and everything to be ok. I have learned that I can’t fix everything. As much as I would like everything or everyone to be ok, there are some things that only God can change. There are things in my life that I just want to go away, they are a bother to me to keep dealing with them. I pray, yet they are still there. I have spent a lot of time the past several months leaning on others. Even that bothers me, because I don’t want to look weak; yet it has been very humbling. I wanted everyone to think I was strong and could handle anything, yet that hasn’t been the case. Like Paul, I have pleaded with the Lord to remove this thorn from me, yet He hasn’t chosen to do so. So we plead with God again, to do this our way, over and over we come to God, yet the situation is still there. So what do we do now?
Paul tells us that Christ said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. “ Christ was saying to Paul, “My grace and strength is all you need to bear this thorn.” Rather than Paul question God again, the scripture says he began to gladly boast so that the power of God would rest upon him. He chose to be thankful, to be glad for whatever had come into his life because God wasn’t removing it but was giving him grace to bear it. Being glad meant having joy about the very thing that he had begged God to take. He changed his attitude about the situation and it made all the difference. Paul knew about having joy during painful experiences. He didn’t like pain any more than we do. That is why he pleaded with God to take it this time. Yet when God gave him his answer, Paul immediately gained new perspective. He said,”I will take pleasure in my infirmities, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
So today, I don’t know what you might have in your life that you like me are less than thankful for, but if you have prayed about it and no deliverance has come, then know Christ will give you grace to bear it. This is hard, I know, yet Christ says He will glory in our weaknesses. I am thankful God placed this verse before my eyes today. So like Paul, I just need to get glad! You like me may not understand why this thorn has to be in your life, yet we are to just know God will give us strength to face each day, and grace to make it through. I want the power of Christ to rest upon my life; I want others to see Him all over me, in every part of my life. So today I am choosing like to accept what is in my life that I cannot change and know that like Paul I am going to smile and look to God in my weakness. If this is what I must have to keep me ever at His feet, then so be it. Thank you Lord, that when I am weak, You are made strong!