Do you have weaknesses you want to be rid of? I’m sure you do. I do. I think if it wasn’t for this limitation, I could do anything. There’s the kicker! That weakness keeps me dependent on God. It makes it obvious that it is His power and not mine at work. Everyone has different issues. Some are more apparent than others but none of us is perfect yet. You might not have one of these falws, because God knows you do not need it to keep you humble, dependent on Him and glorifying Him. Good for you, praise God. But we all have difficulties, failings, and weakness of some sort.
I do have something that makes it clear when I am speaking to people that it is God in me that is doing the talking. Without The Lord there is no way I could go have conversations with people or love them for Him. I wouldn’t be able to overcome the shame of my teeth to say hello much less pray for them, share the Gospel or have a long conversation with them.
Paul was very close to God, and God spoke to Him regularly. He revealed things to Paul that and taught Paul in supernatural ways that most of us will not experience. Because of that it would have been easy for Paul to become conceited. Paul knew he had a lot to brag about. His service to Jesus seeded many churches, all with disciples he considered his children. He did miracles in Jesus’ name. Even his calling was special as Jesus spoke to him personally on the road to Damascus. But God loved Paul enough to keep him reliant on Him. He gave Paul some sort of thorn. Paul describes it in verse 7.
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.”
We do not know what it is, and I do not see the point in wondering what it is. We know that it was not easy to deal with and caused him a great deal of pain. Verses 8-10 read,
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
What difficulty are you facing? What is it that you wish God would take away from you but He has chosen not to? Is Satan tormenting you the way he tormented Job and Paul? Praise the Lord for it! Look what it means. It means that God is using you. It means you get to trust God and put your faith completely in Him. It means that His power and strength will be plain in you as you serve and adore Him.
I have horrible teeth and can no longer wear my dentures for very long. I see now that God can work through that. I see now that I do not have to cover my mouth when I talk, give half smiles, or choose not to speak to people. God’s power, love, charisma, and strength can work through the ugliness of my teeth and do more than if I was depending on a pretty face to charm people.
He may choose to heal my mouth. I continue to hope He will. But in the meantime, I praise God for working through me and allowing me to love people. I rejoice in my thorn because it has a purpose. Your thorn has a purpose too. Your suffering is working in you to produce good. It is, through the Holy Spirit transforming you to the image of Christ, helping you lean on God, and letting God’s power shine.