The Apostle Paul suffered torment. Something had got under his skin. God allowed a messenger from Satan to afflict him with something that caused him great distress; a thorn in his flesh. We’re not told what it was; whether it was a pain or sickness, some trouble or temptation, or perhaps hostile opposition. We can only surmise. Paul pleaded with the Lord three times for Him to take it away, but God refused, saying ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9).
God’s grace must therefore be able to lift us from a position of weakness to a place of strength. In our weakness we can know God’s power by His grace. ‘Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me’ (2 Corinthians 12:9). ‘For when I am weak, then I am strong’ (2 Corinthians 12:10).
How, then, do we find God’s grace? We need ‘to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God’ (Ephesians 3:18-19). Because it is ’out of His fullness we have all received grace’ (John 1:16). Let us open our eyes to see the full extent of His love, and allow it to penetrate our innermost being, and so receive all that God wants to give us.
Grace is not an intangible blessing or a mere assurance that we’re loved, but a strength and power to uphold and protect us in all circumstances, and is only available through Jesus Christ. It’s in receiving by faith everything that He’s accomplished for us on the cross that we can walk in confidence, by His Spirit living within us.
A thorn in the flesh is painful. But we can rise above that. ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ Galatians 2 20. ‘For we walk by faith, not by sight’ (2 Corinthians 5:7). ‘It is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God’ (Ephesians 2:8).
Prayer: Father, I know You love me. I know You gave everything so I could enter into Your love. Take me deeper into Your presence, so I may know Your grace, that gives strength to Your love, to uphold me in my time of need. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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