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Perfect in Weakness

Read: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you.” (v. 9)

Members of my congregation occasionally express frustration with Christians who claim God will answer every prayer, “As long as you have enough faith.” At the same time, they ask, “If God has the power to grant our requests, why doesn’t he?”

Paul wrestled with the same dilemma. Paul survived shipwrecks, attempted murder, and deadly snakebites. He healed the sick. He even raised the dead. But in 2 Corinthians 12, Paul recalls a time when he turned his healing hands on himself and nothing happened. We don’t know the nature of Paul’s “thorn.” We do know that after repeated prayers for relief, Jesus answered no.

Paul’s testimony provides two words of reassurance for those of us who have experienced unanswered prayer. First, it doesn’t mean you lack faith. Paul had extraordinary faith. He still got a no. Second, it doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t love you. Jesus loved Paul dearly and deeply. But he had other plans—not just for Paul, but for Paul’s pain. Jesus’ answer to Paul was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9). There’s a dimension of Christ’s grace we can only experience during difficulty. There’s a measure of God’s power we can only access at the limits of our own. Jesus teaches that our heavenly Father knows what we need (Luke 12:30) and is committed to our very best (11:13). If we’re convinced of his grace and goodness, we can be content with his answer to our every prayer.

As you pray, trust Jesus to give you the best of his grace.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon

Ben Van Arragon is the Minister of Worship and Leadership at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He preaches and teaches the Bible in church, online, and anywhere else he has the opportunity.

This entry is part 14 of 15 in the series 2 Corinthians: Shining through the Cracks