Christ is our sufficient source of grace and power
'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.'
2 Corinthians 12v7b-10 (NIV)
We have all cried out this prayer: 'take it away from me'. We pray it for ourselves in our troubles and we pray it for those we love, in their struggles. I find myself praying it about this Pandemic 'take it away'. It certainly is a big and painful 'thorn' that is causing no end of 'torment'. Now we need to be careful, not to read like for like. The Apostle Paul is writing from his own experience. His thorn, whatever it was, is under God's sovereign control; 'I was given a thorn', and it was used for good purposes; 'to keep me from being conceited'. Rather than it be taken away God promises to give his 'Grace' and 'Power'. That promise is also for those who run to Christ, who is enough in our greatest times of need. What we discover is, our trials are the channel through which, grace and power flow to us from God.
First, In our struggles grace is sufficient. Christ says: 'My grace is sufficient for you.'
When thorns remain, it's not to punish us because of something we have done wrong, but to show us that Christ is enough. You see there is something better than living in a suffering free world - it's knowing and enjoying Christ. So rather than demand 'take it away', we can begin to pray 'give us more grace'. As we do, we will discover that all Christ gives is infinitely more glorious than seeking a life without troubles.
Second, In our weakness we are strong. Christ says: '...for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Thorns have a habit of teaching us our weakness and vulnerability. Most of the time we like to think we can manage on our own, but trials cause us to lean in dependence upon God. In our weakness Christ steps in and carries us. Rather than rely on our own strength we are filled with his power. That's why we can now say: 'For when I am weak, then I am strong.'
Father God, we are in desperate need of your grace and power. In faith, I ask you now to give to me grace for this 'thorn' that we are facing. Show me that you are sufficient enough. I also ask that you will help me to see my weakness so that I run to you and experience your power. Please carry me through in your strong arms of love.