Paul prayed for God to remove his thorn in the flesh three times, but God did not take away this problem (ICor.12:7-8). We do not know what this thorn was that Paul was dealing with, and we can only speculate. Most believe that it was some type of physical ailment that God refused to take away from Paul because He wanted to use it in his life as a tool for spiritual growth and transformation. It is God’s design to develop us, not to ease our pain. Through His grace, He provides what we need at the moment that we need it. God wants us to cope with our trials as we depend upon Him. It is through our weakness that God’s power is made evident in our life (IICor.12:9 - “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness). We cannot rely upon our strength as we go through life issues but must totally depend upon God .
Perhaps one of the great lessons that we learn as we travel through hardships is total dependency upon God. We need to recognize how weak we are, so we can understand God’s power as we cope with the difficulties of life. God often puts us through trials to teach us that we cannot in our own strength face these challenges. This will help us to be humble and admit our need for God.
During this illness, I have learned how dependent I am upon God and how little I can control or change. I am still learning that it is through my weakness that God’s strength is evident in my life. I tend to be mentally strong when I am physically throughout my life in the areas of sports and fitness. Due to God’s grace, I have been responding without bitterness or questioning God’s wisdom. It is only through God’s enablement that I am able to deal with this emotional trauma during my treatment of this illness.
I rejoice in God’s grace and strength that has helped me through this difficult time in my life. I do not know my future, but I want to rely upon God’s power to help me respond in a Christ-honoring way and be a testimony for God. I recognize how weak I am and totally dependent on His grace, but in my weakness I am filled with God’s power. Why would I want to rely upon my strength when I have His unlimited power to lean upon and learn from?