2 Corinthians 212:6-10 (NIV)

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 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me 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.   

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

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.   

DEVOTION – Verner Friesen (Saskatchewan, Canada)

“But it is better this way.”  I was surprised to hear those words from my friend Abe, who had just been diagnosed with a disease hat could be fatal.  At first, he had been devastated to hear that diagnosis.  But after he had struggled with it and put his life in God’s hands, he was able to say, “But it is better this way.”  Through my friend was not glad for his illness, he was grateful for his illness, he was grateful to be reminded daily how fragile life is and that he is constantly in need of God’s grace and care.

In our reading for today, the apostle Paul expressed similar thoughts about his “thorn in the flesh.”  Whatever the thorn was, he had considered it a hindrance to him in his work for the Lord and had prayed for God to remove it.  But the Lord’s response was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Paul eventually came to realize that in some ways, “it is better this way.”  God’s power is manifested more fully when we recognize our weakness and dependence.

It has been about 45 years since my friend Abe shared the sobering news about his illness.  This year Abe turned 90, sustained all these years – physically and spiritually – by the grace and love of God.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God’s grace and power shine in the darkness.

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for the many times when our human weakness has revealed your strength in our lives.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: THOSE SUFFERING WITH LIFE_THREATHENING ILLNESSES

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