Have you ever gone through something that you repeatedly lifted to God in prayer, but felt like your prayers fell on deaf ears or that you, in general, were getting nowhere? Something that made you feel… weak?
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
From this passage, I’ve discovered some great truths. It seems as though God allows certain things we would consider trouble to essentially keep us humble. The thorn in Paul’s side was placed there to keep him “from becoming conceited.” He pleaded with the Lord several times as we all have done. He did not want the thorn, just as we do not want our thorns, it’s painful, it’s irritable, it breaks our hearts, it keeps us ill, and much more. It sucks. God’s reply to his pleas is not a yes or no answer, and is convicting. Does he say “ok, I’ll get rid of the thorn,” or “nope, I’m not doing anything about that thorn?” No, He tells Paul He is bigger than the thorn, that with God, that thorn is powerless. He pulls the focus off of the thorn and it’s size and directs it to Himself and His size. Once this sinks in to Paul, he no longer seeks relief from the thorn, and even INVITES weakness! He has seen how the majesty of Christ is made more visible because of his weakness, and says “When I am weak, then I am strong.”
Can you imagine, that thing you’re thinking of right now that hurts you so bad, thats been tearing your life apart for months or years, suddenly losing it’s effect, and you say “I’ll take on more!” This should shift the direction of our prayer!! Yes, we can voice our concerns and hurts to God, and sometimes in the middle of the storm we absolutely need to, but what more of a productive prayer and mindset shift it is to thank God for who He is, for His power manifested in our weakness, for the victory that is SURE to come, for His infinite grace!
You could draw the conclusion then, that a purpose for life sucking is to keep us desperate, facedown before the Lord in humble surrender of our life and all it may bring us, whether it be joy or sorrow. I can say that I am BLESSED to be crushed and broken. My God loves me enough to not allow me to think I have everything together, to think I don’t need Him. I would rather have my world crashing around me so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
I feel very little need to go beyond that holy statement in search of a relief to a struggle.