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.– 2 Corinthians 12:9
I’ll be honest with you, I’m having kind of a bad day. It’s something that can be hard for us to admit to one another. Too often, in Christian circles, we feel guilty if we don’t say everything is fine. At times there’s this weird pressure we feel to make sure everyone knows that we have it all together. I don’t know where it comes from, but I think we’ve all been there.
Paul’s main theme throughout all of 2 Corinthians is strength in weakness. Paul takes our natural expectations on how life should go and flips them all around. In our modern world, and especially here in America, we long for strength, power, and control. It is so rampant in our society that I don’t even need to give you an example of people who would do anything to get a little bit more authority.
Paul doesn’t mind sharing his weakness. In verses 7 and 8 he talks about a “thorn in his flesh,” a messenger meant to keep him from becoming conceited. It’s a mystery to us what this thorn may have been, however we know that it is something Paul saw as a burden. He didn’t just pray for it to go away he “pleaded with the Lord.” And this is where expectations get flipped around, instead of having the thorn removed Paul is reminded that God’s grace, His lovingkindness, His mercy is enough.
In the Church, a life centered around Christ is sometimes falsely portrayed as pain-free happiness. The truth is that Christians face the same troubles that any other human on planet Earth faces. We just have the grace of God to lean into. If you’re having a bad day, that’s okay because you have a God that loves you and wants to hear about it.
When we face troubles, when there are thorns in our flesh, we can remind ourselves that God wants us to fulfill our purpose. If you feel strong, run hard after God. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. No matter what, boast in the great work He has done even through our weakness.