Time Alone With God Daily Devotional

TIME ALONE WITH GOD DAILY DEVOTIONAL

WRITTEN BY PASTOR PHIL STOUT

6/13/2016

Read: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

New International Version (NIV)

7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 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.

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Consider: People have often speculated about what Paul was referring to when he said that he was given a “thorn” in his flesh. The word “flesh” almost always refers to the body, though Paul used that term in other ways as well. If it was a physical malady, it could have been almost anything. Paul had suffered beatings, sleep deprivation, malnutrition and imprisonment. I have no doubt that Paul lived a significant portion of his life in chronic pain. So he, like all of us, asked God to remove the “thorn.” He pleaded for healing.

He didn’t get the response he wanted. God didn’t promise to remove the pain. But God did make a promise. Paul said…

“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.’” (12:8-9)

People have often used this verse to debate if, when or how God heals. But I don’t think that is the issue that Paul is addressing here. There is something about the very nature of God that Paul wants us to see.

Our whole understanding of the Messiah—the Christ—is that he conquered by suffering. He became the Lamb that was slaughtered for our sins. He chose to save the world not by killing, but by dying. He turned upside-down every notion of strength that this world embraces. And Jesus Christ taught Paul that he could also conquer by his suffering—that Christ’s power in Paul “is made perfect in weakness” (12:9).

What is true physically is also true spiritually. It is not in spiritual strength and might that we conquer. We don’t overcome sin, addictions or injustice by strength of spirit. We overcome by total dependence on the grace-giver.

Pray: “Lord, teach me what it means for me to say what Paul said—‘when I am weak, then I am strong’ (12:10). Help me not to fear my weakness, for that is where I find you.”

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