In my study of 2 Corinthians, I was reading the first part of chapter 12 yesterday. As I was reading and pondering this message, I realized that God’s timing in this was so awesome in this message and it is so relevant to everyday life. I recall writing about this chapter some time ago regarding Paul’s discussion of being given a thorn in the flesh, and while he asked for it to be removed, he is reminded that it is there to keep him from becoming proud and exalting himself and Jesus reminds him that “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
This teaching is such a humbling reminder about life. That thorn in the flesh can be anything in life that can come up and take the wind out of your sails. I’ll use a sports comparison. I’ve seen players that have had things going so easy and then become very comfortable. They figure they have secured their place and all of a sudden they lose their place, whether it’s a starting role or something. When something like this happens, how the player responds can make a world of difference.
You see, when we have these moments where all of sudden it seems like things that we’ve worked for are taken from us, you may be surprised to learn that through that, God is at work. You see, His grace is all you need. I have learned to recognize that He is using moments like this, like a athlete losing his starting role, as a way to humble him and remind him to lean to God through all the difficulties. It is also a reminder that in this life, no matter what, be it sports, the business world, or anything, we have to work for everything. Things are not just handed to us and we have earn our way.
The same holds true for our faith. We are not guaranteed Heaven. We are not guaranteed to be able to inherit the Kingdom that is made available. It comes with work. It comes with surrendering your life to Christ and then working day after day to be restored each day and sanctified daily. There are some who believe that once you have professed your faith that’s it, you’re good to go. I used to feel that way to some degree. How wrong I was.
God’s grace is enough for all of us. These challenges and trials we face, these thorns in the flesh are a constant reminder, if we are listening, to turn to Christ and call for His grace to fill us every day. He is in control.
There is a saying that get’s passed around that I have heard time and again that says something like “God will never give you more than you can handle.” There is so much wrong with this statement. You see, along with the thorn in the flesh, Paul also adds that he is give a messenger from Satan to torment him. The simple fact is that without the grace of God, we can’t handle these difficulties ourselves. We can’t inherit the Kingdom without God’s grace. We can’t make it through challenges in life and truly put on our new selves without God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. All of this comes through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
I’ve had many times in my life that have taught me this lesson. I even had a challenge this week that came about that caused me to filled a lot of doubt and questions regarding that situation. Reading these verses and then sitting in prayer contemplating them really opened up my eyes and reminded me that no matter what, I need to turn to God’s grace and realize that it is all I need. His timing was perfect in this and I am ever grateful for what He opens my heart to see and hear.
That phrase, “God will never give you more than you can handle,” has been extrapolated from 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
It’s always God who gives us the strength and wisdom to handle any situation.
Thank you for that Susan!