“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, NLT
“Turning Pain into Gain!”
It is difficult in our world of near immediate solutions, to imagine anyone taking pleasure in any kind of chronic illness. This is especially so, when it comes to one that involves persistent physical pain and anguish. Much has been speculated about the “thorn in the flesh” the Apostle Paul spoke of, in a late letter to the Corithian Christians. Perhaps it is not as important that we pin point what the apostle’s specific illness was; as much as we consider how, he felt about the pain he endured. For one thing, while not being passive about his illness, Paul candidly admitted, the infirmity he suffered, humbled him. In fact, Paul said his illness kept him from being arrogant or boastful. What Paul meant was that the gnarling symptoms of his illness, made him focus more on God, and less on himself. Before Paul became a Christian, he was a very prideful person; who wore his accomplishments and privileges on his sleeves. Paul often used his great standing in his heritage and religion, as a weapon, to persecute Christians. When Paul became a Christian himself and matured spiritually; he experienced how his physical infirmities and life’s challenges, made him stronger; and more knowledgeable of Christ’s love and grace. Paul said that in [the midst of] his weaknesses, he experienced a new strength. Whether we experience a chronic or acute illness; or challenge, God can create the divine prescription that brings healing. In ancient times, people sought healing in the resin or balm of trees; so, they journey to the high ground of Gilead to be healed. Now, God, Rapha, can bring a cure to us, whatever the illness demands.