When the Answer Isn't What You Want
'A thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me.' 2 Corinthians 12:7 NKJV
Paul isn't referring to the kind of 'thorn' you find on rosebushes, but a sharp, pointed stake that inflicts pain. And the word 'buffet' means 'to render blow after blow after blow'. This makes his next statement all the more amazing: 'I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. But He said to me, "My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, My power is made perfect in you." So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses. Then Christ's power can live in me' (2 Corinthians 12:7-9 NCV).
Paul responded to his thorny situations by doing six things: (1) Admitting he needed God's strength. (2) Asking, even begging, for God's help. (3) Accepting the answer when God said, 'No.' (4) Appreciating it as a gift of grace. (5) Acting with confidence and continuing to fulfil his mission. (6) Acknowledging that the problem allowed God to work through him. When the driving force within Paul had been redirected by God, he wrote: 'I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me' (Galatians 2:20 NIV).
Paul's will had been taken to the cross and crucified. Now he operated in the will of God and no longer questioned the path or the price. That's the place God wants to bring you to!
SoulFood: Rom 7:1 - 9:16, John 10:11-21, Ps 83:1-8, Pro 29:19-22