2Co 12:7-10 NASB - "7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."
There is a danger of our pride in the midst of our lives of service to the Lord becoming a sense of self accomplishment and a feeling we a sense of control which denies our entire dependance upon the LORD for every good thing we have every moment and in every endeavor.
So this is one reason the Lord will allow times of struggle and loss come to us. Such times remind us of our weakness and dependance upon the LORD. They force us into reality and motivate us to seek the LORD for strength. Normally our prayers will be for better times. In this case Paul was struggling with persecution both from within and without the church. He just wanted an end to opposition and physical torture so that he could have a more effective ministry.
The Lord after not replying to Paul three times gives him wisdom instead. The wisdom is that the gift of God’s power comes to its full maturity when we become weak. So Paul actually begins to boast in his times of weakness because at such times the power of Christ more and more is in me at such time. It is at such times it is only the power of Christ and nothing else that can be seen for I have nothing else.
This reminds me of the famous foot print poem.
Footprints in the Sand
One night I had a dream...
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand;
One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before us,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
There was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You would walk with me all the way;
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why in times when I
needed you the most, you should leave me.
The Lord replied, "My precious, precious
child. I love you, and I would never,
never leave you during your times of
trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."
So I must accept that the Lord is with me at times of grief and suffering. That HE will even be more and more becoming my strength. The bad times are actually being used by HIM to bring greater good and glory through my life. My pain and loss is not random but part of a bigger plan. All of this horrible struggle will be used for good. Even as they take from me my natural strength, yet they will reveal HIS power.
So I do not can trust there is power and purpose even in the midst of my darkest moments when I most doubt power and purpose.
Lord, please show me how your power is coming out of all this. It looks random and senseless to my eyes. Yet, you say your grace will become greater the weaker that I become. Let me experience that grace and power right now. I am in need of seeing you work in me. I am more aware of the reality of my weakness than the reality of your strength. Come to me now LORD of grace and give me inner grace at this desperate moment in my life. Amen