Paul then pleaded three times with the Lord, in prayer, that this weakness would be removed. But the Lord's answer came to him:
My grace is sufficient for you,Paul could then rest assured that it was okay. And he realized actually that it was more than okay. His response:
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.When Paul realized that Christ would become more evident through his weaknesses, he not only accepted them, but embraced and even revelled in them.
The lesson for us is obvious and rather in your face. Let's not shrink back from what might seem to be rendering us of no account in life. Or what might hit us at certain times, even with what I alluded to yesterday. The trials or issues may be hitting us to keep us from becoming conceited, or because we are being disciplined in love by the Lord, or they may just be the aftereffects of sin. Yet when we repent we can be assured of God's grace, and we can go on, even when our experience at the time does not follow with us. Knowing that in the weakness we experience, Christ can be made known.
I'm glad I don't experience many times like I did for almost an entire day beginning Monday evening. I don't seem to have to have much of any thorn in my flesh, though I am quite aware of deficiencies, and the Lord has humbled me over the years through my realizations of my own weakness and limitations.
I think we can take home Paul's words, and the word of God to us, both the Lord's words to Paul, and his response- quoted above. It's really not about us either looking or feeling good, but it's all about the Lord's power being made perfect, for the display of his person and glory. That others might see Christ in and among us. That is what counts.
What about you? How do you look at this in your life? Or what might you like to share here?