Devotion for Thursday, April 30
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 12: 7b-10
This might be a bit of a recap for my Zoom bible study class, but I think the concept that Paul speaks about is one that we should all meditate on, especially during these days when we feel our lives are on hold.
Although we don't know exactly what it was that was such a source of pain for Paul, it obviously was something that created limitations and at least some minor-to-moderate disability on his part. Perhaps it was an illness, or perhaps it was the result of an accident or even a defect he was born with. He had obviously prayed his heart out asking that God would remove that "thorn in the flesh". But it hadn't happened. Instead, God sent him something much more valuable. God said to him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
When was the last time you felt God pushing you and prodding you to do a certain task or get involved in a particular project that really and truly was something you felt totally inadequate and unprepared for? Something you knew was important but you felt strongly that your gifts and talents did not even remotely match up to the gifts and talents needed to make the project a success. But somehow you couldn't back away - and perhaps even unwillingly, you stepped up to the plate. And amazingly enough, God used you in a powerful way to do what He needed done. And the experience proved to you that God doesn't usually "call the equipped," but God always "equips the called." In other words, God's grace was more than sufficient.
There are a lot of needs around us right now. There are a lot of lonely people, hurting people, confused people, angry people, frightened people. People whose lives have been pulled out from under them. You might be one of them. And if you are, spend a little time today trying to grab a hold of God's promise that "my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Try to identify your greatest weakness this day - is it impatience? Is it fear of contracting Covid-19? Is it loneliness due to the quarantine? Is it financial worry? Is it something else? Scripture tells us that God wants to use that weakness to show His strength. Why not spend a few minutes today asking God to help you turn your weakness into a strength for His glory?
Prayer: Loving God, life these days often feels out of control and it's hard to know which way to turn. Help me to remember your promise that when I am weak, with your help, I am strong. Use me today to bring glory to your name. Amen.