Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
The God who is with us during the crisis2 Corinthians 12:1-10
V9a “But he said to me, '' My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Apostle Paul had received many visions in his life, but the vision he described in this passage was the most amazing and remarkable one. Among Churches of those days, it was from the Church at Corinth that Paul encountered most opposition with regard to his teaching. Since Paul himself was enduring bodily sufferings, his critics opposed his teachings about suffering, and challenged his apostleship. Based on this context, Paul precisely refers to his office as an Apostle of Christ and briefly mentions the revelation he received from the Lord. He humbly related it in the third person’s experience. Rather than deflecting his sufferings, Paul has magnified his sufferings and proclaimed, ”if I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness” (Vs11:30).
Trials Will Challenge Our Faith (Vs.7-8)
No one knows what was the nature of Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’. Some have suggested that Paul’s thorn was Malaria, epilepsy or some other physical ailment. It afflicted his physical man. Moreover, a spiritual warfare was going on in Paul’s life.
Life is filled with its ‘why’ moments. One of the great questions that people ask often- Why do dreadful things happen to righteous people and why do the wicked prospers? This passage reminds us that when trials come our way, we always seem to forget that God is behind our hurts and that He has a plan in our pain. Sometimes, God will send trials to test our faith or to sanctify our lives. We need to remember that the pearl, which is so valued, is the product of suffering or refining. As believers, we need to realize that the trials and the sufferings of life will refine and prepare us to take flight for the glory of God.
Trials Will Change Our Face (Vs.10)
Paul besought the Lord thrice that the thorn in the flesh would be taken away. Though Paul was a great man of prayer, the Lord did not answer his prayer in the way he thought. But the Lord did answer it. The Lord said to him, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (Vs 9). The thorn in the flesh was not taken away, but HIS GRACE was given to bear it. Paul took it positively and said that this thorn in the flesh was given to him, a messenger of satan to buffet him, so that he would not exalt himself or become conceited. He reckoned his great trial to be a gift from the Lord. Paul learned that God’s purpose in trial is not to break him but to grow him; not to punish him, but to perfect him.
Trials will do one of two things in our life. They can drive us to God or they can drive away from God. Many people react with bitterness when adverse things occur in their lives. The death of loved ones, illness, tragedies etc; all have the power to create bitterness within our hearts. Notice that Paul’s trials drove him to his knees. He could have faulted or forsaken God. It reminds us that God’s purpose in trails is not to destroy us, but to perfect us (Rom 8:29). The best example is the life and ministry of our Sadhu Kochukunju upadesi who clinked on God’s Grace when he had gone through trials and tribulations. The death of his son was a big loss in his life which inspired him to write the immortal hymn “Dukkathinte Panapathram”; If the Lord gives the cup of sorrow in my hand, with great joy, I will receive it and sing Hallelujah. Even if He beats me, He still loves me.
The Promise of Divine Sufficiency (Vs.9).
Grace is ‘the undeserved love and favor of God’. In the New Testament the Greek word ‘Charis’ is used for Grace, who is meant for undeserved favor given by a superior to an inferior. Instead of removing the thorn from Paul’s life, God strengthened his shoulder to bear the load.
We can’t receive the sufficiency of God’s grace until we know our own insufficiency. If we want to live with such strength, we also must understand and admit our weakness and look to God alone for the grace that will strengthen us for any task. It was the grace-filled Paul who said, “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” (Phi 4:13).
“Trouble affects folk differently. Trouble is like hot weather, it sours milk, but it sweetens apples” (Joseph Lincoln).
Gracious Lord, thy Grace is sufficient for us. By thy grace, let us not take a direction that might be contrary to your desire. Teach us to trust that you are the one ultimately in control. Help us to comprehend your grace more and more in our life. Amen!
Thought of the Day
Our troubles can make us or they can break us.
Rose Chacko W/O Rev. Joseph Chacko