Day 28: Friday, October 28, 2016

Rapture Drill ~ Devotions

Day 28

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. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

A few weeks ago we came home to a wonderful message on our answering machine. A woman friend of ours called to say that her tumor was benign. She didn’t have cancer after all. We’d been praying for such a miracle, and now those prayers had been answered. “God is so good,” she said excitedly. We agreed aloud and thanked him for his kindness.

Answered prayers have a way of lifting us all a notch or two. We love sharing stories of God’s miraculous intervention in our life—and that’s a good thing. Yet even as I write these words this morning I wonder to myself, What if God had chosen not to heal her? Would he be any less wonderful? Would we still be praising him for his power and goodness? Is God still good and merciful, even when our prayers go unanswered? Paul wrestles with that question in his letter to the Corinthian church. “I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud,” Paul confides in his brothers and sisters in the Lord. “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away” (2 Corinthians 12:7-8). Paul didn’t just pray for help, he pleads for it, begging repeatedly.

And what was God’s response? “My grace is sufficient for you…” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In a word, God’s answer was no to his most faithful and trusted servant. God wouldn’t even heal a simple problem? Unbelievable! That’s what I would think. But Paul has a different response: So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses. . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

In the midst of suffering and unanswered prayer, Paul continues to preach about God’s goodness and power. God refuses a simple request, and Paul still praises his name. He still has the thorn but glorifies God in spite of it. What does Paul understand that so many of us seem to have missed? Paul knows that grace is all he really needs. He knows that answered prayers are nice, but they have little to do with the big picture. He knows that God has already given him more than he ever deserved—more than any of us dare ask for. And he knows that thorns are just diversions from our real purpose—temporal problems that won’t even be remembered in eternity. It’s great to praise God for miracles. But let’s not forget to praise him in his silence.

 

Daily Readings:

  • 2 Corinthians 12
John McSharry

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