2 Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
If Paul did not have this thorn in the flesh, perhaps he would have had no room for God’s grace to pour into his life. If he wasn’t weakened in some way by it, he would have had no need for God’s strength to be imparted to him. Jesus often works most profoundly in those things we would wish away, those things we beg God to be delivered from, those things we don’t want to be a part of our lives. We would be rid of them, but He keeps them there and works through those specific things to reveal His grace and His strength. Where our lack is most apparent is where Christ’s fullness can be seen most clearly.
So will we choose Christ’s power over our own? Will we choose His grace even if it means bearing up under some wretched thorn? It’s those things that keep us needing Him in a way we wouldn’t without them. And He, in exchange, is willing to pour out His grace and strength into our weakness in endless supply. And that way, He is magnified not only in our own hearts, but to others witnessing His power in our lives. So may we embrace His grace and allow it into our lives.
Sometimes, though, we may not be so willing to submit to God’s will in these thorny situations. Sometimes we reach for the scalpel determined to be rid of it no matter what God says about it. But we’re only setting ourselves up for more pain that way. We don’t have the skill or experience to deal with these hurtful things like God does. We don’t have the ability to change those things without doing permanent damage. And to defy God by going against His will for us and taking them out of His hands leaves us to handle them in our own insufficient strength.
It’s so hard to understand why God allows painful things, why life must entail so much suffering sometimes. But God has a purpose even for those things. And we may never understand it, but won’t we still choose to trust God? Won’t we seek His will even if it’s not what we want? Will we accept those thorns because we trust the gracious hands that left them there and allow God to work in and through those situations how He sees fit?