By Allison Gingras
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Bible open, heart heavy but hopeful, sitting in a room darkened to calm yet still allow enough light to read. One more straw, one more cross, one more prayer unanswered or delayed. I am indeed feeling weak, my only recourse coming to Jesus, which I know makes me stronger at that moment than Hercules, or if we want to stay biblical, Samson!
These encounters with Jesus fill my heart with such joy. No words can fully express what transpires—intimate, wondrous moments. Jesus feels so close and tangible, all doubts of any kind, for that second, are erased. Fleeting but enough to keep me moving forward in faith. Unseen, yet assured. Wrestling with my thorn, confident in His grace.
The Didache Bible offers a fantastic explanation for verse 12:9: My grace is sufficient.
“Rather than remove the thorn, God allowed Paul to experience redemptive suffering and the strengthening grace necessary to endure his pain for his own purification. The personal experience of suffering should prompt the individual to find strength and solace in the heart of Christ.”
We can each name our thorns. We’ve probably all asked, prayed, even begged for their removal. Even if our minds can grasp the importance of redemptive suffering in every Christian life, convincing our hearts of its goodness can take more time.
These illnesses, trials, anxieties remained to keep us connected to Jesus. Reliant. Humble. Awaiting and believing in the good God has for us. Opportunities to experience the power of grace strengthen our faith, just like those fleeting moments of clarity spent in the dim light of our prayer corner.
Beyond Our Strength
In 1 Corinthians 10:13, St. Paul already prepared us with his words, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
While temptation, troubles, and circumstances far beyond our control will always be a part of this world, we can rest assured knowing these light and momentary afflictions prepare our hearts and souls for glory we cannot even begin to comprehend. Moments, not of fleeting explainable joy, but an eternity of intimate, wondrous communion!
Jesus, strengthen me with your grace to withstand every weakness until I am with you, forever.
Call to Action
Find a quiet place to sit with the Word of God and let the grace that comes from those words bring you comfort, hope, and strength, in every place you ache.