08.02.2013 What Really Matters

Hi friends! Our Scripture for today is 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10

7 …because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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. 10 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.

A few things about this particular scripture really sort of smack me around – some in a good way, some not so good. Bear with me, here. First, we are given no indication of what the thorn in Paul’s flesh was. Oh, there’s been plenty of speculation but no definitives: bad eyes, physical temptation, depression, persecution. It’s easy to get caught up wanting to know what was troubling Paul, I think, because then it’d be easy for us to discount this entire passage. It’s not the thorn that matters.

Paul pleaded with God to remove whatever the thorn in his flesh was. According to God’s answer removing the thorn was not part of God’s plan for Paul. It might be easy to believe God is uncaring (spoiler alert! He’s not) then we could discount this entire passage. It’s not Paul’s pleading that matters.

Paul, after God’s answer, chose to boast about, and delight in, his weaknesses. Wait, what? Why would anyone boast about their weaknesses?? What on earth could be delightful about weakness?? That’s exactly opposite of what we’re taught in society – not just today but throughout human existence, most likely! The crazy boasting and delighting about one’s weaknesses makes it very easy to discount this passage. It’s not Paul’s boasting that matters.

Ok, then, what does matter? Our faith has a part to play, as do our actions, but they are not anything until God produces a result. When we bring mustard seed sized faith to the party, God shows up with the whole mustard tree! It was Paul’s small vision of freedom from that thorn that kept God from showing Paul the vastness of His plan. Once Paul understood that “all” that was required of him, in this instance, was to accept God’s grace and power he finally realized the strength of the God he served. We serve that same God today. God’s grace and God’s power are what really matter!

How do you feel about this passage? Is it hard for you to imagine strength in weakness?

Father God, thank You for teaching us what matters and for working with us in our weakest moments! Thank You for giving us mustard seed sized faith and prompting us to action. Only You can produce such monumental results with what seems to us like a tiny seed! Hallelujah! In Jesus’ Name, amen!

Blessings, Jennifer