The Kingdom We Long ForWhat makes you most desperate for the fullness of God’s kingdom to arrive?
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Rejoicing In Thorns
2 Corinthians 12:1
That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses. . . . For
when I am weak, then I am strong (v.10).
Amy McDonaugh, a 34-year-old mother of three
who is completely blind in her right eye and has
severely impaired vision in her left eye, fought
off 1,775 competitors to win the Flying Pig Marathon—a
popular and enjoyable race. Participating in only her
fourth contest, McDonaugh not only beat her fellow
runners, but she also showed that her physical challenge
would not stop her from doing something remarkable.
Almost 2 millennia prior to Amy rising above her “thorn
in the flesh” and crossing the finish line in first place, the
apostle Paul offered a powerful perspective about his own
thorn. When Paul’s opponents (false apostles) boasted
of their knowledge and visions to prove their superior
apostleship, Paul felt a need to challenge them with his
own revelations—ones which surpassed any that the false
apostles had recounted (2 Corinthians 12:1-6). To prevent
Paul from becoming too proud about these revelations,
God had sent him a thorn in his flesh (v.7).
What was this thorn? Some suggest that it was an
eye disease or a speech impediment, false apostles or
opponents in the church, or troubling demonic activity.
Paul asked God three times to remove it, but He refused.
This denial turned out to be for Paul’s greater good and
God’s greater glory. Paul gained this perspective from his
weakness: God delights in displaying His power where
human strength is weak. And as Paul took delight in his
thorn, blessings from God came his way (vv.8-10).
What about you? Has the presence of thorns (weaknesses) and God’s refusal
to remove them discouraged you? Be encouraged! We can find comfort and
security in the truth that God’s grace is enough to sustain and strengthen us in our
weaknesses. Because His grace is enough, we can rejoice in our thorns, stand
strong in His power, and experience His glory in our lives.
Read 1 Corinthians 4:8 to see how believers in Jesus should
respond to afflictions and weaknesses.
What’s your typical response to personal thorns? How can you
stand in God’s power and grace and delight in your thorns this week?
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