Today, we wrap up our series, Agents of Grace, with probably one of the most important promises of God that we could ever imagine. This promise, put simply, is that His grace is ALWAYS ENOUGH!
2 Cor. 12:9
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
God’s Grace is Sufficient to carry you through any level of suffering, hurt, pain, or “thorns” you are experiencing in your life. Today, I want to address a very real and relevant issue —
How do we deal with the ‘thorns’ in our lives?
How do thorns affect us?
Tempt us to doubt the promises of God.
Cause uncertainty about the future.
Make us feel weak & vulnerable.
Make us feel inferior & inadequate to others.
Make us feel unworthy to receive God’s love, grace, mercy.
In a word, thorns make us feel spiritually “weak.”
2 Cor. 12:7-10
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Why Do I Have A Thorn? The simple answer is: we don’t know. Only God knows. But I trust His wisdom on why He allows things to come into my life! For Paul, the purpose was to keep him humble. In some way or another, God knew that Paul would become too proud.
1. It is okay to admit you’re hurting (vs 7) Paul was given a thorn he didn’t hide
1 Cor. 1:18, 21b
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 21b…it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
– no one thrives in isolation, especially when navigating a thorn in life
2. That “thorn” may never disappear
vs 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
– it just might be a lifelong challenge (Joni Eareckson Tada)
3. It’s okay if the “thorn” doesn’t disappear
vs 9b …”My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
– and if it doesn’t disappear, God will still give you what you need to survive
– “God will never put more on you than He puts in you to bear it up”
4. You may never get over it, but God will always bring you through it
God literally applies His Grace to your heart – exactly where it needs to go – and it empowers you to make it through.
“sufficient” (are-KAY-oh) = “possessing unfaltering power; to provide impenetrable protection”
1 Cor. 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 5. Joy is guaranteed if we trust the heart of God!
2 Cor. 12:9b-10
…Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
Romans 8:35 NLT
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
On page 13 of “When it Hurts Too Much To Cry,” my Father wrote:
“The Children of God do suffer from time to time. But it doesn’t mean that God has forgotten us. We need to remember that God’s love and mercy and his ministering angels are usually much closer to us when we are in pain and in deep spiritual need than at those times when we are feeling spiritually strong.” — Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr.