2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (ESV)
I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
This seems a strange passage to me. Paul boasting about not boasting. Paul tries to be obscure about a vision he had, then has to admit to make his point that it was he that had the vision. But the thing that struck me was that he has this malady of some kind. He calls it a thorn in his flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass him. He pleads with God three times to remove it, and
was told no. God responded with, “My Grace is sufficient for you.”
We are never told what the malady Paul has, and it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that he prayed to have it removed, taken away. God told him no. Three times.
What can we learn from this? We can ask God anything. God will answer. Sometimes the answer is no. There are many times that God gives us things we ask for. Many times He will heal the person we pray for. But sometimes He says no. God is sovereign. He has a plan, and His will is supreme. Regardless of whether God answers us with a yes, or a no, He does answer our prayers.
God does know best, and I trust Him! He has always watched out for me, and protected me. He has shown me that He has me right where He wants me. And that is enough. I have to trust that He knows what He is doing.
So whatever you are going through, or if you are feeling down, Lift up your prayers and praises, knowing that God hears you. Know that He cares, and that He will answer. Perhaps He will heal, or relieve whatever pressure you are under. But be prepared in case He says as He did to Paul. “My Grace is sufficient for you!”