August 29, 2005

Love Always Perseveres (2)

1 Cor. 13:7d; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

—  2 Corinthians 12:9

There are many theories as to the identity of Paul’s thorn in the flesh: persecution, sexual temptation, malaria, epilepsy, migraine headaches. But no one knows for sure what the apostles’ thorn in the flesh was.

Paul called it “a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” Satan was at work in Paul’s pain to discourage him, to distract him, to destroy his confidence in God. And Satan is always at work in our troubles destroy our confidence in God.

But the Lord was also at work in Paul’s pain to accomplish his good purpose. What was that good purpose? Paul says his thorn in the flesh was given “to keep me from becoming conceited—because of these surpassingly great revelations.” In other words, the Lord kept that thorn in Paul’s life to keep him humble, to keep him praying, to keep him leaning on him for strength and courage in the midst of trouble. Paul discovered that when he looked to the Lord in his weakness, the Lord gave him strength and courage to persevere in his apostolic calling.

The Lord will do the same for us, too, in our suffering. He will not always relieve us of our pain, but, because he loves us, he will give us strength and courage to persevere in faith, hope, and love until after this life we attain to the goal of our faith—perfection in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Father, continue to pour out your love into my heart that I may persevere in faith, hope, and love. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

About the author — Richard E. Williams

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