“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me…” -{2 Cor 12:8}

Firstly, He could have acted to remove it – which He didn’t. It wasn’t that He was powerless, for as easily as He spoke the world into existence and upholds it all by the power of His Word, it would have been nothing and effortless for Him to do so. But He chose not to.”He does whatever He pleases in Heaven and earth …- (Psalm 135:6}. He has the right to. He was not powerless but Purposeful! He had a purpose and what kindness of Him to reveal to Paul His reasoning, for doing so.{2 Cor 12:7-11}. He was neither powerless nor callous but purposeful!

The Lord did not answer Paul the way he had asked, by removing the “thorn.” There are times God says “NO!” “But God…” He always does it with purpose, not to be mean, but He is going to do something else, through the circumstance! He is going to meet Paul with Himself!

Jesus is “the grace.” His grace and power to endure the pain, not somehow but TRANSFORMING the attitude of the man in pain, as he perceives all he needs, he has “in Christ!”It is “In” a Person that we find our spiritual needs are met! it is “From” this Person we experience His personal, intimate involvement in meeting us! Paul would know and experience that the LORD Jesus would be “sufficient,…enough!”

We need to use our sorrows, “thorns,” as a means to deepen our faith, and our dependence upon the LORD, and allow Him to display Himself to and through us in knowing Him deeper, and His Grace to empower us and meet us in supernatural ways. God would teach Paul dependency not on himself, with all its frailties but on the LORD. Deepening devotion and dependence upon the Lord would result and the displaying of His grace, His power through a weakened man to others, that they too may increasingly learn to take hope in the ever Sufficient One!

Countless multitudes have benefited from God saying, “no,” to Paul’s request. The same Sufficient One who met Paul has unlimited grace and power to impart to them in their time of trial, and others may benefit as God unleashes His power through His people, to the end His fame is seen and spread. Your pain is not in vain. God’s “no,” was not His displeasure towards Paul but His Divine purpose being worked out. God is neither powerless nor callous, when He says “no,” but is purposeful. He revealed to Paul “why. We may not always know, but we can be sure, His purpose is we know HIM deeper, draw from His resources and depend upon Him and He may display Himself to and through us. These we can glean from 2 Cor 1:7-11.

God always has a purpose. Eternal purpose, personal purpose, and a wider purpose for the welfare of others, as He puts Himself on display through a weakened vessel! God’s “no,” is not final, but part of His working out His purpose, by His means, to His end, for His glory, the individual, and others’ spiritual benefit.

Don’t waste your sorrows. Use them as a springboard to pray and depend by faith on Him who is sufficient for you and through you, in your pain. God is working out His purposes.

 A grief, a trial, an incapacity, a limitation, a weakness, which we use as a means of deepening our sense of dependence upon Him, is a blessing, and not a sorrow. – Alexander MacLean