There are wounds that heal.
And then there are wounds that are always there.
A festering sore. A dull pain that reminds you of the hurt.
A thorn in the flesh Paul (the apostle) called it.
He asked God to remove his thorn three times and God said,
“My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
There are times when God lets a wound stay embedded in your flesh. It might be a relationship you’ve done your best to change. It might be grief so fresh and deep you question anything good around you.
Do you know this thorn? The one causing a painful, tender spot that throbs just enough to let you know it’s there.
Paul says, “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness so that Christ’s power may rest of me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV)
I’m not keen on boasting about the thorn in my flesh, the wound that won’t heal, the pain that gets ripped open when I least expect it. I bet you aren’t either.
But I’m learning to run to Jesus with all my might. People don’t have the answer for our wounds. Sometimes they make it worse, like pouring kerosene on a smoldering fire.
When we run to Jesus, He answers us the same as Paul. “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in your weakness.”
Do you expect His sufficiency? Do you allow His grace to meet the needs of your pain? Do you let His power work out His perfect will in your life, showing who He is above anything you expect or imagine?
When I read of God’s greatness, His power, His might, I stand in awe. Do I expect Him to work in those ways within my weakness/my wound? Do I expect the glory of His grace to be a soothing balm on the festering thorn?
It’s similar to running through pain in order to reach a finish line. Last September I ran a half-marathon with pain in both knees for the last six miles. I vowed to not give up even though each step brought jolting surges of pain through my entire body. I wanted to quit. I wanted to give up. I wanted to be done.
I wonder if pain is easier to bear when we know the where the finish line is. Unhealed wounds remain painful because we don’t know when or where it will end. As my wound is opened again, my question has gone from “why” to “what?”
“What now, God?”
“What is your plan?”
When we know what’s next, it’s easier to bear the pain. But God doesn’t always show us the finish line or the reason why He allows the wound to remain.
Instead, He desires to be the strength in our step, the bearer of our pain, the patience while we wait.
I just completed forty days of fasting from things I run to when I need pain to be dulled. Ironically, my wound was opened upon completion of the fast. While I didn’t run to my defense mechanism, I did feel the depth of emotion as my wound was opened.
When I ran to Jesus, pouring out my pain, He said, “It does hurt. I allow it to be this way. I want you to let me work in the pain.“
What pain do you need Christ to work in rather than asking Him to take it away? What wound do you need to surrender to Him so His grace will meet your every need?
Will you join me in allowing Him to make us strong, taking us to the finish line only He sees?
Will you join me in allowing His glory and power rest on us (2 Corinthians 12:9) where we can’t do it on our own?
“For when we are weak, then He is strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
Father, be the glory of your grace in our pain, our weakness and our wounds. Let your power rest on us and make us strong. Amen.
I’m excited to speak with the Not Alone Mom ministry team in Pensacola, Florida on October 25, 2013. We will be presenting a mini-conference for moms who need refreshment and restoration. If you can’t make it, plan on coming to the Chicago “super conference” July 25-26, 2014. Click here for more details!
This is one of many speaking engagements I’ll be giving for women and moms this fall. Will you pray for God’s healing power to minster to women at each event? If you need a speaker for your women’s event this winter, spring or summer, I’d love to share with you! Click the speaking tabs for more information or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.