My Grace Is Sufficient EGP Blog post from February 2, 2014

2 Corinthians 12:7–10 ()

[7] Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! [8] Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. [9] And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. [10] Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7 Lit beat
2 Corinthians 12:9 Lit in
2 Corinthians 12:10 Or mistreatment

When we draw close to God, He will often reveal things to us (). Ironically, when having these deeper understandings, we can be filled with pride and start boasting in ourselves instead of God (). So, God, still desiring to have closeness with us, allows for aspects of this fallen world to keep us humble. Paul compared it to being a thorn, literally, a splinter () in his flesh. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a splinter lodged into you, but when you do, there may be times you can forget about it, but the wrong movement or brush of the skin will more than remind you that it’s there! Paul even said that it was there to torment him, literally, to “beat him up” ().

I always thought that only asking God three times to remove it seemed a bit undetermined. The word translated “implored” here literally means “to call near” (), so these were probably not just a morning prayer, but a time of seeking hard after God in prayer and fasting (). Even still, he only asked three times because God clearly gave him the answer. While He does want us to keep asking, to keep knocking, and to keep seeking (), there are sometimes, contrary to the “prosperity gospel”, that the door is opened to reveal that this hard time IS where God wants you right now.

So, what about “My grace is sufficient for you”? How could allowing something to come along and beat up on you be an extension of grace? The bottom line: there are NONE good except God (), ALL have sinned and have earned death (), so if the extent of your woes is that for your short time here on earth you will be reminded that you are a human in a broken world, that apart from Christ you are nothing, that He is your strength and hope, and that thanks to Him you will one day live in a restored world without sin and death, surrounded by God’s presence…then we should AT LEAST be content with the Grace He has extended to us! Also, the word translated “sufficient” here literally means “to ward off”! So, while God may allow us to go through tough times, His Grace WILL protect us through those tough times, allowing them to draw us closer to Him.