We cannot escape pain. I try to. I shop, I eat, I binge watch TV, but it only distracts from the pain for a moment. Sickness, cancer, physical pain, the economy, moral failure and the lingering effects of the pandemic. Those are just the painful things I’M personally experiencing right now. Add on the heartache all around me. Mass shootings, protests, racism, political fighting, countries at war – you name it. We will never run out of things to pray for!
The apostle Paul knew a little something about pain. He mentioned a thorn in his flesh. We don’t know what it was – even if it was physical, mental or emotional – but we know it tormented him (his words). He pleaded, he said, 3 times for God to take this thorn away from him. God’s answer came in 2 Corinthians 12:9.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
I don’t know Paul, but I feel certain this is not the answer he hoped for. And although it may not have seemed so at the time of Paul’s request, God gave him a better gift than removing his pain. God gave him the grace to bear up under it.
By keeping Paul in a place of weakness, Paul’s dependence on God grew. Complete dependence on God was Paul’s greatest strength. And God’s presence and companionship trumps any other gift He could give us.
Paul wrote about this to encourage us through our hurts and heartaches today. When we petition the Lord, He often takes away our hardship. But He just as often walks with us through our suffering. My prayer:
Father, pull ________ in so close during times of weakness that she has no choice but to lean on You. And pour out Your generous grace on her in situations that she doesn’t even recognize weakness. Thank You for loving us that much. Amen.
Replace the pronouns with the appropriate ones for the person (or yourself) that you are praying for. And if you are praying for your kids, say their names before the Father. I am doing so here in the privacy of my home.
Praying for you in this. And don’t forget to share on social media or with a friend who could benefit. It would mean so much to me. And if you don’t want to miss a Praying God’s Word Wednesday, subscribe over on the right hand side of this page.
Lauren Sparks is a wife and mom of 2 daughters – one with special needs – and one bonus son. She lives, worships Jesus, and teaches yoga in Dallas, TX area. She is a contributing author on 3 devotional books, she shares her adventures, victories, and flub-ups from her laptop at laurensparks.net.