To keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh . . .
No one likes unpleasant surprises and struggles, but in Christ we find strength to deal with such things.
The apostle Paul had spiritual high points, receiving amazing visions of heaven, but he also had earthly struggles that wouldn't go away. We don't know what his "thorn in the flesh" was, but we do know that Paul thought he could serve God better without the struggles his "thorn" gave him.
The devil often tries to put stumbling blocks in our way to suggest that God is not caring for us. For example, our business may seem poised for the best year ever, but then suddenly we may face a huge setback: a major client goes bankrupt and leaves us with a mountain of bills. Or we may be approaching retirement, anticipating the opportunities it will bring, only to be stopped short by a debilitating disease. "Why doesn't God prevent this?" we wonder.
Paul records the answer he heard from Jesus: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." No matter how unpleasant his "thorn" was, Paul could find delight in knowing that Christ could work more effectively through him because of this affliction he had.
Whatever struggles we may face this year, our Lord promises to give sufficient strength and grace for each day and to work through us, remaining with us always.
Lord Jesus, grant us the grace and strength we need for each day, and may we show your love to all who struggle. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!