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Pastor Gregg Kohlhepp  —     —   ph 814- 857-2987

When We Are Weak

The Apostle Paul tells the people of Corinth that, “in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”

No one knows what “thorn” is afflicting Paul. Many scholars have debated the essence of the thorn – whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual. But, I would argue that they are missing the point.

What the “thorn” is – is insignificant. The relatability and the response to the “thorn” are what sustains Paul and what carries us all forward today.

We know not what sin or what mark or what thoughts are afflicting Paul. But, we each have our own thorns and we can understand those struggles on a much deeper level. We know the pain of our own thorns, and many of us have responded the way that Paul did -with prayer.

What Paul discovers is that there are two types of relief offered by God. Relief can come from removing the load that the burden brings OR by strengthening the person that must bear the load. In his prayers, Paul finds that God has strengthened him under that burden of this “thorn”.

Paul writes: Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

What burdens do we bear? Financial concerns? Misplaced trust? Breaks in family structure? Drugs and Alcohol? Loneliness? Health concerns?  Poverty? Sinful thoughts?   Environmental issues? Prejudice? Discrimination? Harassment? Pride?

God can only strengthen us when we are open about our weaknesses. And that’s Paul’s point. That’s the point of any Godly leadership – whether you are a little league coach or the ruler of Jerusalem. When we are led by God, we are relying on his strength, not our own. We are relying on his justice, not our own. And, we are relying on his righteousness, not our own.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, we should delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when we are weak, then we are strong.