Saturday, 11 February 2017

That thorn in my flesh - a blessing in disguise!

It's been a particularly demanding week, where I was forced to confront one of my weaknesses. I had two presentations lined up. While I don't mind presentations, they require me to do something I enjoy but deeply dread - speak in public! I stutter, and I have been since I was seven. Growing up, it often made me an object of ridicule and left me pleading with God for a miracle that never came. Little Cindy wondered why God wouldn't heal the stutter even though He could - and grown-up Cindy often wonders the same during weeks such as this!

While mulling over the tasks at hand, God led me to read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 - where Paul talks about the 'thorn in [his] flesh'. Like me, Paul had prayed multiple times for the 'thorn' to be removed, and like my stutter, his thorn remained. God was powerful enough to remove his, and He is powerful enough to remove mine. The fact that God allowed the thorn to 'torment' Paul, doesn't question His love towards him, but reaffirms it. Paul recognised that God was using the thorn to keep him 'from becoming conceited', and God reassured Paul that even though the 'thorn' remained, '[His] grace was sufficient' to get him through whatever, and that '[His divine] power was made complete in [Paul's] weakness'.

The same can be said about our weaknesses. Our weaknesses humble us, and serve as a constant reminder of our need for God. My stutter forces me to throw myself into the arms of Jesus. It forces me to cling to Him and trust Him with the outcome. It forces me to acknowledge how small I really am and how big God is. It has served as a reminder, time and again, that I serve a God who never fails, a God who never lets His children down, a God who cares for both my physical and spiritual well-being.

Without weaknesses we would look within ourselves for the strength only God can provide; and we would fail to acknowledge God for the role He plays in our lives. His grace is enough to sustain us, and we can be certain that His strength will rescue us. Therefore, next time you are forced to confront your weaknesses, don't let that toxic trio of doubt, dread and dismay creep in. Instead let us turn to these verses and be reminded that our weaknesses are blessings in disguise, designed to safeguard us from the pride of self-sufficiency itching to consume us. Whatever your weakness, it is neither a surprise, nor a challenge for the God who created this universe. Trust Him with the wheel and let Him amaze you by how He leads you through it, and like Paul, we too will be able to 'delight in [our] weaknesses' and 'boast all the more' in them.