“The great paradox is that divine power is realized through the crucible of weakness. This power is derived from God’s all-sufficient grace and goodness. When we embrace weakness, God’s power and the sustaining work of His grace flows into, and ultimately through, our lives.”- Charles Swindoll
“If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message.”- 2 Corinthians 12:6 (NLT)
As Charles Swindoll continues Chapter 7 of What If . . . God Has Other Plans?, he discusses Paul’s thorn in the flesh in greater detail. The Greek word Paul used to describe his thorn, skolops, means ‘to disable.’ Most significantly, this represents the only time that word appears in all of Scripture.
Furthermore, Pastor Swindoll observes, this thorn caused a stabbing, piercing pain. Most scholars, the author states, understand skolops to refer to a literal stake driven into the body. As a result, the pain was capable of driving the victim to delirium. In fact, New Testament scholar William Barclay believes that Paul “suffered from chronically recurrent attacks of a certain virulent malarial fever which haunted the coast of the eastern Mediterranean. . . . One who has suffered from it describes the headache that accompanies it as being like a ‘red-hot bar thrust thru the forehead.’ ”
Therefore, the thorn reduced the intellectually sharp, greatly gifted, and spiritually deep Paul to putty in the Lord’s hands. Pastor Swindoll refers to this as a ‘theology of weakness.’
In addition, Pastor Swindoll exhorts you to claim your weakness. Cling to it, walk in it and clothe yourself in it. Finally, stand firm in your weakness.
In conclusion, Paul learned the self-sufficiency of God’s grace from the agonizing stake, not from past success.
Today’s question: How have you felt God’s strength through the crucible of weakness? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Fragrance that emanates from hope in Christ”