“Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8 CSB
Have you ever pleaded with the Lord to take something away from you? I feel like I’m constantly praying that prayer. Lord, take this uncomfortable situation away. Lord take the pain away. I feel like I’m always asking Him to take away anything that makes me uncomfortable. Paul is asking the same thing in the verse above. He’s asking God to remove a “thorn in his flesh” given to him by a “messenger of Satan to torment” him so that he would not “exalt” himself (2 Corinthians 12:7 CSB). People have speculated for years what exactly the thorn in Paul’s side is, no one really knows. Whatever the thorn is, from Paul’s perspective, it is an attack from Satan. The devil is trying to stop Paul in his tracks. Paul begs God to remove it from him, God replies simply. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9 CSB).
God says the same thing to us He says to Paul; My grace is sufficient for you, My power is perfected in your weakness. I was asked by a dear friend whose loved one is suffering with a painful cancer this question. “Why does God allow suffering?” She struggles watching this person she loves suffer in physical pain. I answered with as much love as I could, “We’re all suffering, some suffering you can see, but most suffering, you cannot see.” I have watched several family members die from cancer; I’ve been there when they took their last breath. I remember the dark black and blue circle in the middle of my father’s back from the radiation for his lung cancer. I’ve seen the suffering cancer brings, I knew when I answered her, what kind of suffering she is witnessing. Recently, another friend’s son made the decision to end his life. He was suffering just as badly on the inside, but no one could see it. Lately, as I’m going about life, I’m trying to be intentional about noticing the people around me. I’m looking around at the stoplight, trying to meet people’s eyes and smile when I walk past. I’m working on being nicer. What I have started to realize is how many people are in pain. I’m beginning to see how many people are suffering. Suffering can be seen in the eyes, and we are all suffering some how, some way. But no matter what suffering you are enduring, God’s grace is sufficient. His power will be your strength in the weakness.
We must follow Paul’s example to receive God’s grace. We must take our sufferings to the Lord, whatever they may be. We must lay them at the foot of the cross, trusting that God will get us through. No matter where the attack is coming from, no matter what type of situation it is, God is waiting. He has an answer, and the answer is grace.