Paul asks the Lord Jesus over and over to take away the thorn that tormented him. Three times, Paul pleaded for this torment to be removed from his life, but our Lord tenderly said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Long-suffering through tragedy, illness, or fiery trials is tiring and causes the body and soul great strain. But Jesus gives us the same promise that He gave Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” There are five key words in this passage that if the meanings are truly understood they make this verse explode with boundless application to our situation. They are: grace, sufficient, power, perfect and weakness.
- Grace defined means joy, good-will, merciful kindness of our God and increased faith.
- Sufficient is explained with possession of unfailing strength, defense that wards off trouble; satisfied and content.
- Power is demonstrated through ability and resources rising from the numbers of others.
- Perfect makes its mark with execution and resolution.
- Weakness is clearly classified by lacking strength, feebleness of health or sickness of body and soul and one who bears trials and troubles.
My father has been fighting feebleness of health, sickness and great difficulty for many years and the crucible came to a head for him in these last 36 days spent in the hospital. Not to mention that his family has been battling, defending and trying with every prayer and physical might to ward off death from this side of heaven.
But in Jesus’ gracious words of tenderness He said, “Jim, my merciful kindness is providing you unfailing strength, for My ability has executed a resolution to your demise by bringing eternal health to your feeble illness; for it is time you are complete and you thrive in health and perfect good will; this perfection is only possible when you are completely in My presence.”
For those of us left behind, the promise still stands. For Jesus encourages us with “My children who are still on earth, My joy and increased measure of faith is yours; you will possess satisfaction and contentment with My decision; for you will also demonstrate supernatural ability to stand joyously in this trail of pain, because I am sending you people in great number to comfort you; you will lack nothing of strength – instead it will be my love through them that will replace the loss; and My love is the greatest of all that can make you strong.”
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Pain is our friend when we have God on our side, for He is merciful and kind. His will is sovereign and He is able to do all things beyond what we ask. We love you, Jesus. For without You our weaknesses would be the termination of our soul; but in You we can claim from the hill tops, “I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place” (Psalm 31:7-8).
Written in memory of James E. Sizemore.