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! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 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. 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.I'm sure I'm probably the only one, but I struggle with sin. I have not, as yet, arrived at perfection. Indeed, I'm not at all sure what it looks like. So I struggle along, recognizing sin in my life, repenting, sometimes stopping, sometimes returning to it, always hating it. I ask God to remove it from me and rarely is it supernaturally gone. It appears to me as if I have ... "a messenger of Satan to torment me."
(2 Cor 12:7-10)
Oh, now, that's interesting, isn't it? Now, I'm not saying that's what Paul's thorn was. But it was the same as mine in the sense that it was a messenger of Satan. So, Paul and I share in this difficulty. And what did he call it? "Weakness." Well, now, yes indeed, that's what I'd call it. So now I'm interested in Paul's response to the weakness in himself that God didn't remove because I have weakness in myself that God doesn't remove. What was his response? Complaint? Grumbling? Depression? Hopelessness? Anger? Nope!
"I will rather boast about my weaknesses," he says (and isn't it interesting that he classifies them as plural?). "I am well content with weaknesses."
Why was Paul content with weakness? He gives several reasons. First, he was learning the sufficiency of God's grace. "My grace is sufficient for you." Beyond that, he served as a vessel where God could perfect His power in Paul's weakness. He became a perfect place, in weakness, for the power of Christ to dwell. Ultimately, the whole effect produced strength. "When I am weak, then I am strong."
Weakness isn't pleasant, but weakness has very positive effects in the believer. I want to move toward that contentment. Contentment in trusting in His power, resting in His strength. I never want to hear coming out of my mouth the foolish, "Don't worry, Lord, I got this." In my recognition of my shortcomings I can remain dependent on Him and serve as a vehicle for His work. Both important things for every follower of Christ.