Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Strength in Christ Uncovered
Although he is one of the most famous Christians of all time, the apostle Paul knew he was weak. In our Bible reading for today, he writes about a figurative “thorn in [his] flesh” that “tormented” him with regular reminders of his inadequacy to successfully handle his struggles against the sinful world and his sinful flesh. He begged and pleaded that God remove this thorn from him so he could find relief. But God did not remove it and not because he wanted Paul to suffer. Rather, he wanted to teach Paul about the strength we find in resting our entire lives in his grace.
We are weak too. Our lives regularly prove it. We are weak against various temptations, despite often promising to do better. Our resolve is often easily weakened as we live in a dying world filled with unspeakably difficult troubles and brokenness. Yet the Bible assures us that we are already victorious over all these things, not because we regularly prove our strength against them, but because Jesus was already strong enough to defeat sin, death, and Satan with his perfect life, innocent death, and resurrection.
That allows each of us to always say, along with Paul, that “I am strong.” I am strong in Christ Jesus.
Gracious Savior may your victory over sin, death, and Satan always be the first place I go to seek my strength. Amen.