But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a
Have you ever thought about things that way? Every time life doesn’t go your way, or when your prayers seem to go unanswered, have you ever considered that the Lord has withheld a “yes” because His “no” was a grace towards you?
I love the account of the apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh in 2 Corinthians 12. Paul, a righteous and redeemed man of God, one who in large part laid the foundations for the early church, has a difficulty in his life that remains a mystery. Scripture does not specify what his “thorn” is, but what we do know is that Paul is eager, rather desperate to see this “thorn” removed. Can you relate? Of course you can! So can I. There have been numerous trials and difficulties in my life that I’ve pleaded with the Lord to fix, heal, or simply remove. We know this plea. We’re acquainted with hardship…it’s simply a part of life. Paul pleads with God three times to remove his difficulty, and he is met with the beautiful promise of verse 9 – God’s grace. Although numerous Bible scholars have sought to label Paul’s thorn, the fact is that we do not know what it was. Some suggest it was his singleness; others think it to have been a physical ailment. The point is that it doesn’t matter what it was. It remained with him, and so did God’s grace.
I can’t help but believe that God’s “no” to Paul was not only for his own good but more importantly for God’s glory. If God could still use Paul’s life with this “thorn”, not only would it require Paul to be that much more dependent upon God, but it would also show the world that there was a greater power at work within him.
Have your prayers or requests been met with a “no”? Have you fought to overcome discouragement because of it? You and I both might need a reminder today that God always knows what is best for His children, and He simply cannot act outside of His love towards us. If His answer has been “no” to you, rest assured that the promise of His sufficient grace rests upon you. That is the blessing that lies within every “no” – His abundant, sufficient grace.