Rhythms of the Word: Day

Lord, make us weak

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Today's Text: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Text: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,  a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Scripture is the lens through which we as believers are to view the world. Hold verse 9 up to your eyes and heart this morning, sister. Look through it onto your day, at your people, and at the “thorns” that may be plaguing you. Now what do you see?

Now, let’s write. Use a timer if that helps you. Don’t worry about it being pretty or profound. Just respond to all-sufficient grace. Agree with His power being made perfect in weakness. Ask questions. Ask the Holy Spirit to be near as you write, truly meditating on what you have read.

Go ahead. We’ll wait.

And now verse 10. Do you believe it? Maybe it would be helpful to jot down a few insults, hardships or calamities for the Lord to see. Lord, here they are. My persecution and my pain. Let’s look on them together. Lord, help me to see them the way Paul saw his thorns. Don’t take them away – be faithful, Lord, and use them to make me weak so that I can see your strength plainly – victoriously!

  • Jennifer

    I think it is really interesting that Paul says the "thorn in his flesh" was given to him to keep him from "becoming conceited". It sounds like he really understands that when we are resting in our own strengths and abilities we are ineffective witnesses. I think we go through trials or have weaknesses for a lot of reasons, but one of the most important reasons is to keep us humble, to remind us that without God we wouldn't even have life, we are dependent on Him for everything!

  • cecilycharles

    To build on to the idea of God shining through our weakness, I want to remind you guys of an old tradition that the Japanese have. When pots or other objects are broken, they aggrandize the damage by filling in the cracks with gold. Now think of that gold as Jesus-light shining through to show the world how he has healed our brokenness. And to further that association, reference 2 Corinthians 4:7 where it equates our bodies to clay jars containing the extraordinary heart of Jesus. Nobody is going to see past our rough exterior to the Jesus-light in us until we are broken and weak, giving Him a chance to shine through!

    I elaborate more in my blog ~> http://cecilycharles.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/agg

  • Lakeisha

    In Order for me to have God’s power resting on me, I must learn that my weaknesses are here so that I can experience and understand God ‘s grace.

    I won’t truly understand His grace until I know that His grace is enough for me, it is made perfect in my life as I come face to face with my weakness. Why don’t I ever see my weaknesses in this manner.

  • Thank you Diana and Lauren for your posts. My dad has been in and out of the hospital five times in the past month. He is 91! His birthday is in November. My mom and dad have been married 60 years. This has been a very difficult journey – especially for her. His health has been declining over the past year. I don’t think anyone is ready to lose a spouse/parent/loved one. But somehow it helps knowing that they will be in the loving arms of our Father… Whole and complete and like new. I miss the man my father was , but praise God for every day we have with him. Blessings to all.

  • 6 years ago these verses were made alive in my life. I was in a head-on car accident that led to surgeries and a forever changed life. I had prayed God's will be done….that my desire was His desire for my life. And that all led to His grace is sufficient. I wish I could say that I have stayed the course of being strong in my weakness….but I can't. The first couple of years God helped me endure….and now…He is still here, but it's gotten tougher on me to rest in that grace that is sufficient. It's embarrassing to admit that especially since I would say I am a very strong Christian. I feel like my life has taken on this mundane cycle that's never ending…the slightest bit of activity takes all my strength and I want to be so much more for Christ than what I can physically handle. I am feeling like verse 7 …."a messenger of Satan is harassing me"….and yes I could see that I would need it since pride is an issue that I battle all the time.
    All that to say….I need prayer…grace…endurance to keep on keeping on because my weakness is great. Lord, I'm a mess….I need Your strength to carry on….Your grace Is sufficient! Help me to remeber that.
    (I hope that all made sense…sometimes my meds make my thinking jumbled)

  • jesusgirl71

    You know, as I said in a reply earlier, I was having trouble getting this today, but I think I just did. I was trying to think of my thorns and thought of several small things, so it didn't hit me. these are just small things, really. but then, the biggest one came to me: My blindness. As a blind person, and maybe as any person with a disability, particularly being born with that disability, you are raised to believe you should act like that disability is never a problem, that it doesn't suck, in fact is great almost. but you know? Blindness truly sucks sometimes. And by admitting that, I can then go on to say, but jesus can work through the sucky parts, and his power can be made perfect! I hope I'm making sense.

  • I have been diagnosed with a hyperactive immune system which has caused the miscarriage in my first pregnancy. For 3yrs now we've been waiting for me to conceive again. My condition in being pregnant seems really complicated and I used to always have a discussion with God about it…. until He spoke to me through this verse. It really comforted me and helped me accept my condition believing everyday by Grace that He will do an extraordinary testimony about it! I don't know when, but I know that He will!

    I have written about this in my blog a few months ago. I want to share it with you today. :)
    http://steady-myheart.blogspot.com/2013_01_01_arc

    God bless sisters! :)

  • Jennifer

    Wow. This really hit me hard this morning. The Lord has been speaking to me about this for the last month or so. For the last 3 years it seems like our family has been hit a lot-returning from a week of vacation to a flooded house, a hacked bank account, children’s illnesses (almost constant), needing surgeries, surprise twin pregnancy after we thought we were “done”, one twin has had many health issues since birth, now diagnosed with severe multiple food allergies, husband laid off from work, gutting a house, a move, still trying to sell old house and 2 weeks ago transmission died on our only car that fit our family of 8.
    I was at a family camp where I heard this truth: they aren’t problems, they’re opportunities. Opportunities to trust Him, for growth, and to let His glory shine!

    Lord, take all my pain, my self-wallowing, and continue to help me see them as Paul saw them! Continue to do Your work in me, mold me into Your image. If that means stripping me bare, Lord, I give it all to you, that You may shine even brighter through me. Draw me near to You.

  • I could not believe the scripture that appeared today in this devotion! I have really been battling a thorn for the last four weeks. I woke up way too early this morning with a heavy heart and all that kept coming to mind was “Let not your heart be troubled”-John 14:1 and “MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU”! 2Cor. 12:9. I feel like Jesus has come and had a conversation with me this morning! I agree with Him that His grace is sufficient for me! I agree that His power is made perfect in my weakness! I know I am only who I am today because of His Grace! Not anything of my own. I rely completely on Him and I need a lot of Him! He knows my weakness and I pray I will see it/them as He sees it- COVERED BY HIS GRACE! Help me to see His Strength plainly and VICTORIOUSLY. Lord, let not my heart be troubled today! For when I am weak, you are strong!

  • Sherrill

    I read today's Scripture in the Williams translation, so it expresses a few of the words differently. In v.9,"Grace" is translated as "spiritual strength" and where it says "my power is made perfect in weakness", this translation says, "it is only by means of conscious weakness that perfect power is developed."
    This helped me to understand it better. I am trying to make this Scripture mine. I have a physical condition known as IBS, which is supposed to be alleviated by watching what foods I eat, but thus far nothing has helped. The Lord has given us many promises by which we can live our lives…is this one for me? "My spiritual strength " or Grace…"is sufficient". Thereby, "for when I am consciously weak that I am really strong".

  • Praying for you Lauren! So happy to know she is sitting with Jesus today!

  • I remember the first time I read 2 Corninthians 9-10, I was so moved and just affected by those verses. They are highlighted in bold orange and when I am feeling week and overwhelmed by the world around, I love to return to those two verses and remember that Jesus said, HIS strength is made perfect in weakness. HIS strength will make me strong. God is just so awesome!

  • LaurenC_

    I have felt so many thorns in my side for the better part of 2013. I used to cry out for the Lord to take them away from me. Instead, He used those thorns to teach me to trust Him completely. He has taught me to know, deep into my soul, that His grace is truly sufficient for my every need. My sweet Mom peacefully passed away Friday evening, August 30, 2013. An old thorn has grown and ripped open a new gash. I feel dulled by sadness but also overflowing with peace that she is now with Jesus, that she is fully restored in her body and mind. God is repaying her double for every suffering she endured, every pain in her body, every lost memory, and every confused thought. I rejoice in these truths. I praise our Lord for His mercy. I feel weak from a great loss but I know that I am also strong, thanks to Christ.

    • Diana

      Lauren, I am so sorry for your loss and can understand completely. I lost my dad last year and my mom in May of this year. It sounds like your mom may have had dementia…. both my mom and dad did. When I think of them now it is very bittersweet. I know they are whole in mind and body, they are together and they are with the Lord. I don't know how long your journey was, but mine was about 5 years when my brother (my only sibling passed away) but the journey took on accelerated speed 3 years ago. God has been with me every step of the way, giving me wisdom and strength I didn't know I had. It was only His grace and mercy that got me through. The Lord will continue to strength you. Have a blessed day.

    • Krysta

      So sorry to hear about your mom Lauren, but so thankful that you are turning to Christ and His abundant grace to give you the strength you need to endure. I love the way you said He is "repaying her double…" and even though I don't know you, your mom, or even what exactly it will be like to be in heaven, face-to-face with our Savior…I love that visual of the eternal reward that awaits as He brings healing and restoration to all of our brokenness. Praying for you this morning as you walk through this valley!!!

    • ang

      i am so sorry for your loss lauren. walking alongside a parent in their death is so painful, but at the same time beautiful. it certainly brings clarity to what is important and simplicity to life. praying for you this morning. i remember being so very tired and dulled for awhile after my dad passed away. praying for you to have peace and comfort from the Lord and that He will bring the right people around you to encourage and care for you.

    • Raelene

      Lauren, I am grieving with you as part of the body of Christ. I am feeling your pain as I had no idea the hurt I would feel when my dad passed away 4 years ago; it was an unexpected gash! I thought I was ready but what I finally realized was that the gash was necessary to draw me closer to Jesus, for He was the one who walked me through. And now He is walking me through taking care of my mom who is nearing her end on this earth. It is only through His Grace that I find strength and I pray that you will find the same strength as Christ renews you each day in His sufficient Grace.

    • jesusgirl71

      Prayers and hugs and condolences. so sorry. makes me want to go tell my mom today how much I love her. I have had nightmares before of losing my mother, and much as I don't appreciate her sometimes, it will be so hard for me. I cannot imagine.

    • Catherine_K_L

      Thinking of you today, Diana. I'm so sorry. Praying that you continue to feel God's love and peace in each moment. Praising Him that he can take horrible circumstances and draw us closer through them, give us wisdom through them and meet our deepest needs. I firmly believe it is because of times like this, where God meets us where we are, that we are empowered to share His love and be His light to others that He places in our paths. Psalms 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
      and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

  • BekatinaK

    As strange as this may sound I realized today that I have a tendancy to cling to my thorns (and I have many) thinking that somehow it will keep them from causing more pain. But it is only by letting go of them and clinging to God’s wonderful grace that I can glorify Him through my thorns. I’m excited to see what The Lord will do with them!!

    • DebBates

      Well said. I have the same tendency.

      Lord let us all glorify you in our weakness today.

  • What timing. Feeling a little wounded today–and this devo has come to make me face it head on. I do pray that my weekness in this situation will only reveal Christ power through me to move forward, because it appears an apology is not forthcoming, but I will let Christ wipe away my hurt and live for Him today.

  • I struggle with perfection — so resting in the sufficiency of His grace isn't always the easiest thing. But I'm learning to recognize that this is a heart issue I must deal with if I am to let His story grow within me. Today, I'm asking Him for wisdom to discern opportunities for boasting in His grace and power, moments for resting in His strength, and areas I truly need to grow more into His image. My circumstances, physical limitations, and the broken lens I see my life through are not what defines me…He calls all the shots and His grace is sufficient.

    If you haven't listened to the song, Grace is Sufficient by Shane & Shane, I HIGHLY recommend that you do. http://open.spotify.com/track/3u4fnMQegBkJXfhlWei

  • amykelly213

    It is so appealing to know that in my weaknesses, Christ's power is made perfect! I mean– really, people!– I have plenty of those!! And to think that means I have something to brag about?! I don't have to wait till I've lost weight, or my hair is the perfect length, or my handwriting is suddenly more legible, or I am suddenly more eloquent?! I can go ahead and boast now, because in my weakness HE IS STRONG!! Can I get an amen?! (Sorry… I'm home from school for the day, I may be a bit giddy!)

    As long as we are praising, go link up your story of praise to our Father on my blog. It's Monday Praises time… Time to brag about our weaknesses!! I would love to see you there!! http://www.walkhumblywithgod.wordpress.com

  • I found myself emphatically saying ‘Yes!’ (translation: moment of clarity) after reading this devotional. Thank you, SRT :)

    Recently, I found myself in this scripture, and felt God revealing that my thorn was my Idealism. This thorn can blind me, paralyze me, draw me to a screeching halt… Lately, I have unknowingly (until connecting it with this devotional) allowed my thorn these things, as my circumstances have been less than ideal.

    BUT, God has another way, a far better way. I can choose to be grateful that my thorn draws me back to Him and His unfailing grace. Only when He opens my eyes can I see my not-so ideal circumstances in a new light extending His grace over them.

    Feeling an odd contentment in my weakness. And very grateful for His strength and grace and power.

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