In difficult days, we often cling to the promises from scripture. King David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the Lord Himself made clear that we will never be left or forsaken. In this scripture, however, we are also given the truth that sometimes God’s answer is NO!
Paul was doing amazing things. He had the unique call and wonder of being God’s vessel to spread the message of salvation to the gentile world. The message spread not only during Paul’s life, but it has continued to spread to this very day.
We know that Paul was not alone in the mission, but we also know that this apostle bore great pain, burden, and suffering to complete his mission. We also know that God told Paul no to an easier life. That NO did as much to change the world as did the many yeses Paul did receive.
He asked the Lord for some relief. It was a fair request; one that God had granted to so many others. Still God clearly said no. God wanted for Paul and the world to truly grasp that the struggles, trials, and heartbreaking things that enter our lives are there for a reason. Trials act as a fire to refine, a tool to do fine tuning, and a placard to remind us and others that He is God and will carry out HIS plan in our lives.
In short, God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness and His grace is and will always be sufficient to navigate us to the end of the journey—whatever that end may be. Please understand me when I write that it is incredibly difficult to stay focused on God’s grace and provision. PISTOS the Greek word for faith is the idea that we are able to scrutinize God’s record in order to affirm His continued reactions to our requests. It is not a blind stab in the dark, instead it is a banner that lists God’s many victories as the basis for our trust in God’s continued successful execution of the plan He has laid out.
As the Father’s chosen, we have to trust the Lord that he will do what is necessary to prepare us for the battle we face here on earth, and the life of eternity awaiting us at this life’s end. We must also accept that our ability to grasp that we cannot fix it all; coupled with God’s blunt statement that He may not choose to fix it all is part of that plan. No is not a message of anger, disappointment, or judgement. It is instead a promise that our faith (PISTOS) will bear out that life’s difficulties will purify, strengthen and focus us on God and not on our own circumstances.
God Bless You
3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.