God in us – Day 7
Strong by his grace and power
We can learn three things from this portion of scripture:
Firstly, God answers Paul’s prayer … with a no. However, this does not leave him in sackcloth and ashes. Instead, he realises that “the thorn in the flesh” that afflicts him, is a reminder that the Lord is involved in his life and that he should stay dependent on Him. He has to understand that endurance and godly revelations given to man cannot be ascribed to his abilities, power or commitment, but that it is God who works in man.
Paul received a second revelation by this “No”: the victorious grace of God is at work in his life. The “thorn” is not his focus anymore, but rather the grace working in his own life. This kind of grace assures him that he lives in the blessings and favour of the Lord, without him having to earn it. This life of grace drills open a bubbling spring of joy in him, which enables him to rejoice in his infirmities, reproaches, needs, persecutions and distresses, for Christ’s sake.
Lastly, Paul discovers that he, as a weak human being, is the bearer of God’s power because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in him. The things he excels in, as well as his endurance of infirmities, needs, and other things that might come his way, are only possible because God’s strength is working in and through him. He is, after all, only an earthen vessel that breaks easily. His weakness brings on the visible working of God’s full, generating and exploding (dunamis) power in his life. For Paul, this is reason enough to rejoice exceedingly.