2 Corinthians 12:1-10
I must boast; there is nothing to be gained by it, but 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 wish to boast, I shall not be a fool, for I shall 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. And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought 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." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, 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.
People always debate over what the "thorn" was in Paul's life, but I dont see that being a key to understanding this passage. This passage is a beautiful picture of a man who understood who it is that accomplishes great things in our lives.
If you look back, Paul begins "boasting" in chapter ten and yet throughout those few chapters you can tell it is a struggle for him to talk about what has been accomplished through his ministry. Then you get to chapeter 12 and Paul finally decides to tell us about a vision God gave him. It's not til after hearing about his revelation that we hear about this "thorn", but again, I dont think identifying the thorn is important. I think Paul's response to it is though.
Paul responds by "pleading" with God to take it. The dictionary defines "plead" as "to appeal ernastly or to beg". Paul BEGGED God three times to take it away from him. Yet God chose not to. Instead He tells Paul that His grace is sufficient for him and that HIS power is made perfect in weakness.
How many times have you ask God to either give you something or take something away and He didnt do it? How did you respond? Were you upset? Confused?
I noted three things about Paul's response:
1. He stopped asking once God gave Him a answer.
2. He NEVER complained about it. Only asked Him to take it away
3. He not only accepted it, but went to the other extreme and began to boast about, knowing God's power was perfected in his weakness.
Think about it...
In Him, for Him