The Lord has been dealing strongly with me lately, concerning His grace. I am learning some things I had a head knowledge of, but not so much a heart knowledge .. And some things totally new to me. It has been the most wonderful experience and I just wanted to share. I was taken through lots of scripture, but I want to touch just on the scripture that concerns Paul and his thorn in the flesh. This is often a misunderstood message and it has been taught as such.
Let’s read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 …
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
In verses 7&8, Paul has experienced what it is like to work out things in his own power. In the flesh. He has received numerous revelations from God, and begins to explain what he is learning from God at this time. Why do I think he is in the flesh? Because he says, ‘lest I should be exalted above measure’. Remember, this is Paul reflecting back on something that had happened to him. Although, Paul records this with the express direction of the Holy Spirit, he was at the time, dealing with his flesh. It becomes such a problem for him (and I cannot surely say what the ‘thorn’ is, only that it is afflicting Paul on a huge scale) that he begins to call on God to help him. Three times, he calls out to God. In verse 9, Paul records how the Lord handled the situation. And that is, to tell Paul that “His Grace (God’s Grace) is sufficient”. Here, I think that God is telling Paul, “stop looking at your ‘thorn’ and see my grace!” What is the grace of God? It is the power to overcome. In the latter half of verse 9, Paul relinguishes and enters into God’s rest. In other words, Paul quit trying to work out the problem for himself and sought the grace of God. In verse 10, Paul describes how awesome it is to enter into that rest. He is ecstatic to have understood that God’s grace had never left him. Paul has learned how to allow the power of grace to work in his life. And, he has learned that God’s grace is with him at all times, when he feels weak or when he feels strong. Remember, God’s grace had been there all along. Paul, as most of us, had just been trying to work things out in his own way. But, boy oh boy, is he jumping for joy when he finds out that he never had to work for anything. All he had to do was believe and receive the grace of God. This is quite an insight for Paul and all of us. Can’t you see Paul jumping up and down claiming, “Yeah boy! I am able to handle anything now! Thank You Lord for You have shown me that when I am weak, You are still strong and that makes me strong!” “Get thee behind me Satan!” I can surely see the joy he must have felt at the time. There are doctrines that say that God never did heal Paul. That He allowed him to remain in his infirmties. I completely disagree. Because, if this is true then how can Paul know just how good the grace of God is? Paul experienced God’s power in the midst of a tough time or he would not have been so glad to have realized the grace of God. In other words, God’s grace came through when all else failed for him. And this brought him such joy that he wanted to continue in the knowledge of his own weaknesses and failures. Therefore, God’s grace was at work and did bring with it, overcoming and victorious power.