1I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. 5I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.
7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But 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. 10That 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.
- When we tell people that God guarantees his children health and wealth in this life, or if they only have enough faith, they’ll be healed, that’s not true. Paul prayed with total confidence, only to learn that the answer was no. He learned in time that the weakness which devastated him was truly a gift from God. A gift that enabled him to experience God’s grace, presence, and power, in ways he would never have experienced them otherwise. So, when tragedy strikes and disaster comes, God will give his own strange gifts as we grow in our dependence on him. As we seek His strength, we’ll discover a depth to our relationship with the Lord that we would otherwise never have known. And a strength that makes weakness a triumph and a joy.
- What is my weakness? Have I received God’s gift? How does this gift help me experience God’s power and grace?
Prayer & Journaling:
Stay with God for a little longer. Continue to converse with God and listen to what he wants to tell me. Then write down any thought and/or prayer in the 2011 “Spiritual Journal” book.