In the Name of the Father, and of the (+) Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
This passage goes against the way the world tells us to view things. The world wants us to focus on outward strength and power. Our God delights in using the weak and foolish things of this world to shame those who think they are powerful and wise. He also delights in giving you the grace and strength you need when you are at your weakest and lowest - His power being made perfect in your weakness.
Afflictions drive us to Christ. They teach us to rely not on ourselves but on Christ's grace alone. It's when we realize that we have no strength in ourselves and look to Christ that we realize that when we are weak that we are truly strong because of His grace and strength. So that we can even be content with affliction and weakness! One of the Church Fathers put it this way, "Christ gives us the power to endure these so that what previously appeared to be painful and loathsome may be accepted with gladness."
As our Confessions say: “Troubles are not always punishments for certain past deeds, but they are God’s works, intended for our benefit, and that God’s power might be made more apparent in our weakness. So Paul says God’s strength ‘is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9). Because of God’s will, our bodies should be sacrifices, to declare our obedience, and not to pay for eternal death. God has another price for that: the death of His own Son” (Apology XIIB 63–64).
Whatever afflictions you are going though, God's word to Paul is the same word to you - His grace is sufficient for you and will get you through it. It doesn't mean that He will take the affliction away but it does mean that He will be with you while you suffer under that affliction.
Let us pray:
Almighty God, we confess that we are weak but we also confess that your grace is sufficient for us in the midst of our weakness and afflictions. Be with us in our afflictions and help us to keep our eyes on your promises; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
A place for Pastor Packer to post articles, links, and his own thoughts.