One of my very closest friends sent me a chunk of 2 Corinthians a few days ago that has really lodged itself in my brain.
It’s from 2 Corinthians 7:8-10. Here, Paul talks about how he has this “thorn” in his flesh. He basically believes God allowed it in order to keep him grounded amist the thrill of the amazing things he was seeing. He straight up rejoices over this thing in his letter:
I begged the Lord three times to liberate me from its anguish; and finally He said to me, “My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on—I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home within me. I am at peace and even take pleasure in any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and afflictions for the sake of the Anointed because when I am at my weakest, He makes me strong.
Mind you this is coming from Paul–the dude who’s endured stuff like shipwrecks, multiple whippings, & a kajillion other painful, near death situations & here he is talking about something he asked God to take away from him three times and he’s stoking on it?
I’m sorry. What?
But here’s why (& this is what makes my head explode)–it’s brought him closer to Jesus. Look at it again:
I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home within me.
I started to really think. Could I honestly say that?
Being in chronic pain every day & facing the changes & fears I’m encountering, I realize that’s a bold thing to say. Shoot, that’s a scary thing to say. But I want to say that & mean it. I’m not fully there by any means, but I’m asking Jesus to change my perspective–which is truly the only way to get through these types of things anyway–and its made such a difference already. I’m more hopeful, more confident in what Jesus is doing in all this painful & scary chaos.
I’ll say this a billion times. I’m not trying to act like I’m perfect or like I have anything figured out. I’ll be the first to say I’m a super flawed human being. These are things I’m learning–things I’ve sucked at & am trying to improve on because holy cow it’s so worth it.
But really. The peace and trust I’ve gained in the midst of this time are indescribable . I can say honestly I’ve never been closer to Jesus in my life. I’ve never seen him so obviously and tangibly in my life. And that’s probably because up until now I wasn’t in a spot where I could see super clearly. Probably because it took me having nothing and knowing nothing to understand Jesus is the only thing I will ever need to be whole and well.
And now recognizing this I can truthfully tell you I would not take these last 6 months of pain back. I would not change them for anything because (despite what a flawed human I am) it is through this Jesus is showing me how much he loves me
So particularly. So radically. So beautifully.
And for that I feel lucky.