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.
We have Christ’s power upon us when there is a lack in us, a weakness, a deficiency, some place of need. It rests upon us and remains as long as we need it. And the more of an empty place there is, the more room there is for His power to fill in that emptiness, so then we are full of His power and not our own. It is Christ alive in us giving us life and strength and the ability to carry on.
It is Jesus who must make us complete. And those thorns in our lives are places for Him to remind us of our absolute need for Him. They are opportunities where He invites us to trust Him and depend on Him. We don’t have to be all-sufficient in and of ourselves, because Jesus is sufficient. We don’t need to contain perfection within ourselves, because Christ supplies what we lack by His grace. We have His power when we have none of our own, and isn’t that better than having our own?
Paul had learned this lesson for himself in a profound way. Perhaps, like Paul, we ask over and over for our thorns to be removed. Perhaps, like Paul, we want to be rid of those things that cause us pain and hardship. Like him, we wish to be thorn-free because we think that is the best way to be. But without those thorns, maybe pride kicks in. Maybe we start to depend too much on ourselves. Maybe we don’t learn the kinds of lessons that can only be learned through those thorn-filled experiences.
Are we glad for our weaknesses? Do we glory in our infirmities like Paul did? Are we thankful that we have things in our lives that allow God to work and His grace to fill us and His power to be on display? God places those things into our lives not because He wants us to suffer and not to prevent us from having it too easy. But He allows whatever is necessary to make us the best servants for Him. Those thorns abide for a time here during our lives, but they invite God’s grace to be poured out upon us. So may we be willing to bear up under them and trust the power of Christ to rest upon us in the midst of them.