Read: 2 Corinthians 12:1–10

Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8–9a

Paul had some mysterious ailment that plagued him to the point where he prayed that the Lord would take it away from him. Paul referred to the ailment as a thorn in his flesh. Many scholars have speculated on the nature of the thorn, but we will never know for sure what it was that afflicted Paul. All we know is that Paul asked for this ailment to be removed from his life, and the Lord said “no.” In fact, Paul believed that the Lord wanted this weakness to be present in Paul’s life to remind him that it was God’s power, not his own, that his life and ministry depended upon.

There are so many imperfections in us that we would like to change. We don’t like the way we look or the way our voice sounds or how our face reddens at the slightest embarrassment. Our hands shake or our body is marred or misshapen or an illness plagues us in uncomfortable ways. We lament these weaknesses, but Paul encourages us to claim them as gifts given for our own well-being. For if we are not reminded of our frailty, we might assume we can rely on our strength to get us through life. That is not what God wants for those in God’s service. When we are weak, that is when God’s power can shine through our lives. Our weakness demonstrates God’s strength.

What thorn do you wish was taken out of your life?

Lord, I am weak in so many ways, and I loathe being reminded of it. I want to appear strong, confident, and self-assured. However, if I find assurance in my own abilities, then I begin to depend upon them more than I depend on You. That I do not want. Therefore, I thank You for the thorns in my life. They remind me that I need You, and that You can work through me . . . even, and perhaps especially, in moments of weakness. In Your name, I pray. AMEN.