9 but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
“Why is God not answering my prayers?” This is question that has confounded each one of us at some point in our lives.
In 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, Paul sheds light on this topic. We see in this passage that Paul is severely tormented – tormented because, as he says, God allowed Satan to put a “thorn” in Paul’s flesh. And, adding to Paul’s pain is the fact that his pleas to God to remove this thorn seem to fall on deaf ears.
We all have our own thorns, needles, splinters, etc. which cause us physical and mental pain. We don’t have peace of mind; we are unhappy; we feel pain. And, often times, when we pray to God to remove these thorns, nothing happens.
As we continue reading the passage, we see that God is not completely silent. He does provide an answer – but it is not an answer that we expect. Instead of saying, “I have removed your thorn”, God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Huh?
God has determined that sometimes the thorn has to remain. If God removes the thorn, and everything is ok, the risk is that Paul may no longer seek Him. The presence of the thorn guarantees that Paul will continue to seek God, and thereby receive God’s grace.
God knows that human beings can be arrogant people, who, given the chance, will believe that they can achieve everything on their own. God does not want us to be conceited. Instead, He wants us to be humble, and dependent on Him.
The great danger is that if God always answers our prayers in a manner that we want Him to answer, we will start having delusions about our own capabilities. If all our thorns are always removed, chances are that we will quit relying on God and just rely upon ourselves. For this reason, God allows certain thorns to remain in our lives, thereby keeping us humble, and helping us to realize that nothing is possible without God’s grace. God may not always remove the pain, but He will always help us get through the pain.
If God, in His infinite wisdom and love, allows unpleasant, painful, or hard things to continue in our lives, it is not because God is uncaring or incapable of removing these thorns. Instead, it is to make us dependent on Him, and to keep pushing us back into His grace.
Paul’s weakness did not prevent him from carrying on his great work of spreading the gospel and building the church. This is because Christ’s grace and power was with him. Similarly, during our time of weakness, our dependence on the grace of Christ will also make us strong and help us to carry on. Our ability to endure, in spite of our pain, will shine light on Lord’s grace, and help make God’s power perfect for everyone to see.
O Lord, forgive us for being conceited and believing that we can do everything on our own. Enable us to only, and completely, depend on your grace. Help each one of us to be humbly say, “Your grace, O Lord, is sufficient for me.” Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: For those who pray in faith, there is no such thing as an unanswered prayer. God always answers our prayers – He may not always satisfy our desires, but will always satisfy our needs.
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