By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
“The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to lift you up out of your private pit.” – Bruce Wilkerson
We all go through hardships and pain. Sometimes the same thing can continue to trouble us time and time again. These continuing afflictions can be difficult to understand.
We pray to God to remove these sufferings from our lives but He never seems to answer our prayer. That can be hard to grasp. If God knows that this thing is causing me suffering and I call out to Him to remove it from my life, why hasn’t he done so?
Paul struggled with a similar circumstance. He dealt with a specific hardship that he referred to as a thorn in his side. Listen to how he addresses it to the church of Corinth:
“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 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.’ 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.”
Paul prayed for his “thorn” to be removed but God denied him. God assured him that His grace is sufficient. Sometimes God calls us to rely on more than our own strength, our own resources, or our own power. He wants us to call upon His name and rely solely upon His grace and power for all that we need.
Trying to remain strong through continuing hardships can be discouraging. We each have our own “thorns” that seem to trouble us throughout our lives. But what if we saw these as Paul did? Our “thorns” can be a chance for God to give us strength.
Paul even goes so far as to say that he rejoices when He is weak. He gives God praise because he gets another opportunity to depend on God, another chance to grow closer. His trials give him a reason to, once again, rely on the perfect power of Christ.
Whenever we feel like we have nothing left to give, God will give us the power to keep moving. We experience this power with full awareness that there is no way it is coming from our own strength but must be coming from a God who is greater than us and the “thorns” that fill our lives.
Parents: Read this verse from Corinthians to your children. Ask them what they think it means. Explain to them why Paul was able to rejoice in his weakness.