Week Seven – Day One – Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 SOAP II Corinthians 12:8-9
How does God answer prayer?
Your Grace is Sufficient for Me – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3lugKYiwW0
His Strength is Perfect – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO-7OZJ17M0
7 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. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 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.
7 Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me; 9 but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you[My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for[My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.”Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.10 So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].
O – Paul asked God to remove the “thorn in his flesh” at least three times, but it was not removed. God said “no.” He had a greater plan – that Paul would know (and experience) that God’s grace was sufficient for him, and that God’s power was made perfect in Paul’s weakness. Therefore, Paul would not be able to boast that what he did was under his own power, but with God’s. He realized this, and this thorn became a blessing – He realized Christ’s power working within him. In his weakness – He was strong – in God’s strength. Two things struck out when reading from the Amplified Version –
- “My grace is sufficient for you[My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for[My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” – God’s grace is always MORE THAN ENOUGH, always available, always perfect AND God’s power shows itself MOST EFFECTIVELY in my weakness
- for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength]. –When I am weak, I need to draw from God’s strength! It is HIS strength that works within us.
This was a cross reference in my Bible – 1 Corinthians 2:5 – so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
A – So, what does this mean for me, today? Does God answer “NO” just because? Does He have a greater purpose in His “No” answers? Why do I pray if God is going to answer “no?” Are God’s “no’s” maybe a “wait”, sometimes? I don’t have the answer to these questions, but I have to go back to Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Do I REALLY trust in God’s plans for me? Do I rest in them, even when it seems that He is not answering? Do I really trust and ACT, believing that God’s answers are His best for me?
I think of times that I really thought that God was answering “no” for me regarding my future. Did He have something for me to do – after the school closed and I was jobless? I waited over a year for any kind of employment. But that time was so fruitful, looking back. I learned to WAIT. I learned that God would provide, in so many ways. After that year, I was able to do daily subbing. But even that was preparation for a full time position that opened up in my own neighborhood school. Looking back, I see God’s hand in preparing me, preparing that position, preparing a place. For the three years that I was there, I KNEW that it was God’s provision – and SO WORTH the wait!
I prayed for many years that God would provide a partner for me. A partner in life, a partner in ministry. Almost thirty years of being single – again. Times of hope being dashed. Times of loneliness. Times of being tired of being single. Watching others meet – and marry. Being single in a couple’s world was hard. What was God teaching – and what was I supposed to learn? Did He not hear my prayers – or did He have a (better) plan in mind for me? Was God using my singleness to teach me – to depend on Him – or to use it so I would be better able to minister for Him? I don’t know all the answers to these questions, but I DO KNOW that God answered that prayer in HIS TIME. At the right time, when I was in the right place, He answered yes – not wait, not no.
I don’t know why God chooses what He chooses to answer Yes, No, or WAIT. But I DO KNOW that He is sovereign. He is omniscient. He is loving. He hears. He listens. He answers. Whatever His answer, He has a plan for me – for my best, to give me a future and a hope. I don’t understand His plan some of the time, and sometimes only from looking BACK at what He has done. And, He doesn’t always answer what I THINK He will answer.
So – why pray? To declare His sovereignty and to place myself in HIS hands. To release MY desires and to give them to Him. To allow Him to work – in my life and in my heart. Because I am called to pray – to declare my trust in Him and His ways. Because He is God and I am not.
P – Father God – Thank You for the insights that You are giving me today. Father, when I do not understand Your Plan, or I do not see the answers to my prayers, give me the fortitude and the trust to keep praying. Father, thank You for the answers that I see now that You have provided. Thank You for the time that You kept me faithful to You as I waited. Keep me faithful, now, in prayer, and in giving my life over to You. Help me to be faithful in my prayer for others, so they, too, can see You at work. Father, I declare that You are sovereign. You are omniscient. You are loving to all that You have made. You are my Father, my God, my Helper. Thank You for Your work, even when I do not understand.