This was the portion (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) we read for today in family prayer. It was from our devotional reading – messages from a great man of God. He was talking about Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Paul had been given many great visions and revelations, but he did not learn grace from them. Paul had great knowledge of the Scriptures, but he did not learn grace from his ‘Bible knowledge’. How do we learn grace? Through the thorn in the flesh – through enduring pain and suffering. We learn grace experimentally.
In the beginning Paul did not understand why he was going through this terrible suffering of the thorn in the flesh. It must have been a severe physical trouble; we do not know what it was; and God has chosen to keep it a secret. There is no point in speculating as to what the thorn in the flesh was. Paul prayed three times to the Lord to take away that ‘thorn’; he pleaded with God. But God told him, “My grace is sufficient for you.” Yes, His grace is sufficient for us – His saving grace, His sustaining grace, His enduring grace, His transforming grace. Oh, the wonder of the manifold grace of God! But God was telling Paul: “You are learning what grace is. You are going through pain and suffering, but my grace will enable you to endure and to come out victorious.”
One day God will wipe away the tears from our eyes. Rev 21.4. There will be no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain. God’s children who go through the deep experiences of the cross will come into glory. Suffering, grace, glory. Learn these three words. It is grace all the way, but grace that through suffering leads us to glory. And what a glory that is: the wonder of the Heavenly Jerusalem! To be the Bride of Christ. To have such intimacy with God Himself! To enjoy His love throughout eternity!
May this post be a blessing to you, as you read it before going to church on Sunday.