2 Corinthians 12:1-10
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.
Paul prays earnestly to the Lord that the trial should be removed from him. Three times, he pleads with the Lord, “Lord, take it away. Remove it. Make the pain stop.” Have you ever prayed like this? Have you ever had a deep and abiding trial or fear or grief and plead with the Lord, “Lord, take it away. Remove it. Make the pain stop?” Paul had that kind of trial, and he made that kind of request.
God answered his prayer, but he didn’t answer in the way Paul wanted. Instead of taking away the trial, God entered into the trial with him with his grace. And God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God wants Paul to experience the fullness of his power and grace, but that can only be experienced in weakness. It doesn’t happen in prosperity. It doesn’t happen in health. It doesn’t happen when you are at the top of your game. God’s power is perfected in weakness.
Why is that? Because health and prosperity may make you happy, but they don’t make you holy. They give you a sense of self-sufficiency and settled-ness and comfort. They lull you into self-reliance and arrogance. Suffering, however, makes you realize that you need God, and you need Him desperately. If he doesn’t show up, then all is lost. God’s power sustaining you in weakness is when you are going to display Christ the most.