2 Corinthians 12:7-9—And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
When a speaker comes and insists on sharing a long litany of his accomplishments, publications, and degrees, you can be fairly certain they are not relying on the Holy Spirit. When Paul compared himself to the false teachers that were trying to draw the Corinthians away from the truths Paul taught, Paul said it was his weaknesses that were worth boasting about, not strengths. He had seen revelations that could not be repeated, so to keep him from thinking to highly about himself, God gave him an affliction of some kind. We don’t know what it was, but here it is called a thorn in the flesh and a messenger of Satan. He said that it tormented him. Praying three different times for deliverance from it did not help. Eventually he heard from God, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Sometimes God does not deliver us from our suffering but gives us the grace to endure it. That can be a more powerful testimony of God at work in us than if we were to be healed. You probably know someone that lives with hardship and yet does so graciously, even helping others in the process. That says more about the power of God in their life than if they were to be healed. Some insist that all people are to be healed. This case of Paul shows us that is not always true. Paul had to have such power from God for his ministry that only an affliction could keep him from pride. Paul’s response to his situation was to boast about the weakness so that the power could rest on him. He would prefer to have the power of God in his life and be weak than to be in full health and not be used as mightily by God. Which would you prefer?