2 Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
We grow stronger in times of adversity than we do in periods of prosperity. Bad rounds, bad days and sickness allow us to see the goodness of the round when our swing is on plane, when we get the promotion, and when we feel our best.
Paul was beset with a “thorn” while he was tasked to be a great messenger of the gospel. He came to the point that he actually was thankful for this hindrance. It allowed him to fully appreciate the grace of God and realize the power of Christ. Our trials allow us to identify with Christ. This identification is not to consider our sufferings as equal to those of Jesus, but to trust God and strive for His will just as His Son did.
Warren Wiersbe in his book “Be Delivered” wrote that, “the will of God will never lead us where the grace of God can’t keep us.” So if we are in God’s will, His grace is present. We must realize that God could easily instantly change our condition and remove our thorn. It is by His grace to endure difficulty, however, that we can grow spiritually.
In Romans 8:18, Paul went further and proclaimed that, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Our present thorn or impairment has no hold on our power when we act in the furtherance of the Holy Spirit. It is then we forget our shortcomings of physical pains and wants to realize that these weaknesses make us stronger. It is then we are led to align our desires with those of God’s will.
Our old desires and way of life were a bondage of condemnation. Remember just a couple of weeks ago when we had golf and basketball to watch? We could freely congregate in restaurants and churches without fear of infection. Now that life has changed, albeit temporarily, we became cognizant that maybe these devices were actually a thorn.
Our physical freedoms can hinder us from serving God to our fullest. Paul realized that true freedom is through Christ. He wrote in Romans 8:1 that, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Much of the things we miss and pine for today were flesh satisfying. Let us rejoice in the Spirit and use this time to reconnect with Christ. These thorns will lead us to greater obedience and to a greater realization of God’s grace. We may not be able to gather in mass in the public church, but the real church abides within each baptized believer. His grace and mercy are the tools to evidence His ever present spirit within each of us. When we strengthen this spiritual church today, the physical church will be stronger tomorrow!