Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Everything was falling apart. I was eight months into the planning for the start of a new mom’s group and the first event was just two months away. I had made sure to line up a good leadership team, a mentor, and even a childcare coordinator—the least desired position. But suddenly everything was falling through. My childcare coordinator was having issues and decided to quit, the other leaders were getting nervous that the group wasn’t going to work, and even I was starting to doubt how it was all going to work out. “I know God wants me to start this,” I told my husband. “Why isn’t it working out?”
“Maybe God is doing this to show you it is in his hands, not yours.”
“Well, I can assure right now that if this thing is up and running in two months, it’s definitely in his hands, because I’m failing miserably!”
Two months later, in spite of my failures, the group began. Today, a year later, it’s still running strong.
Where do you feel weak or where do you feel like you are failing in life? In what areas of your life do you feel like you are being attacked—physically, emotionally, mentally and/or spiritually?
Reading and Questions
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
What was the problem Paul was having (v7)?
Do we know exactly how he was being tormented?
Can you name a “thorn in [your] flesh” that is causing you emotional or physical pain?
What was Paul’s reaction (v8)?
Take a moment now to pray for deliverance from the “thorn(s)” that you mentioned above.
What was God’s response to Paul’s prayer (v9)?
I think it’s important to point out that God has the power to say “yes” or “no.” God could have easily thwarted Satan’s attacks on Paul as the bible is very clear about the fact that God’s power is greater than Satan’s power. He could have taken away the “thorn in [his] flesh.” We don’t get to decide when it’s necessary for God to say “yes” or “no.” God chose to respond this way. God chose to tell Paul “no,” and to let Paul push through the pain.
However, we can’t assume that because God didn’t take away Paul’s pain, that God didn’t rescue Paul. Instead, God’s rescue came in another form: Grace and power. I don’t know how God spoke to Paul, whether it was audibly, in a dream, or in another form, but Paul directly quotes God as saying, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’“ When we are totally weak and depleted of all ability to solve our own dire situation, God’s perfect power arrives, and God’s power saves the day. Whether it is through perseverance or deliverance, God’s power allows us to endure the bad times by giving us grace. In this situation, God chose to show Paul how to be his strongest: Using God’s power in Paul’s weakness.
What was Paul’s response to God’s answer (v10)?
When we are at our weakest, God’s power is at its strongest.
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Think about the things you feel helpless about in your life. Pray that God will either provide deliverance from these circumstances, or that he will show you how to use his power so that you can trample through the hard times gracefully and with joy. Find a friend or mentor that will help you to stay strong during the tough times and keep you motivated.
Romans 5:3-5 If you have overcome a battle in the past, how did you grow because of your perseverance? What are other ways that our hard times can make us stronger?
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
To print or download, click Power in Our Weakness PDF.