Amy Charmichael famously said, “In acceptance lieth peace.”
Several years ago, one of my best friends, a father of eleven children, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He continues to learn to adjust to the new normal. Last year, one of the most loved men in our church died of cancer – a fifty-year-old man who shared the gospel weekly at flea markets. Currently, a friend from college, a father of four girls and a vibrant Christian, battles pulmonary fibrosis. He struggles each day to breathe.
In 2 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul shared a contrast in his life. He experienced an unusually close walk with God, yet he endured significant trials. Paul shared an intimacy with the Lord known by few people. In order to keep this godly and determined man from depending on himself, God allowed a difficulty that was like a thorn. This trial stung. It pierced him regularly, caused pain, slowed him, and brought frustration. Strong men don’t like to be deterred by thorny intruders. We want to remove the obstacles, solve the problems, and get on with life.
Paul begged God to remove the thorn. The Lord answered decisively: “My grace is sufficient for you.” God would not remove the problem. But He would use the thorn to teach Paul to depend on Him. The thorn reminded Paul of his own insufficiency and inability. No doubt it forced the apostle to pray, trust, and abide more consistently. Because of the problem, Paul learned experientially to receive and walk in the grace of God – not just for salvation but for every day living. That never-ending grace was a constant supply Paul could draw from at any moment. Neither Paul’s trials, frustrations, or defeats could exhaust the grace of Jesus. Sometimes, we endure troubles we wish God would remove. Occasionally, He delivers miracles, but most often He uses difficulties to shape us and teach us to walk more dependently in His grace.
Depend on Him today. His well is full.