Monday, January 17 – 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
I have been praying the same prayer for years and nothing has changed.
Because of the extraordinary greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me. 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.
When we read Bible stories, we often forget the time that has passed between different events in time. Like a movie, we see all the high points and see them brought together in a perfect bow. What we are missing between the stories is frustration, everyday tasks, and time. We hear how many years the Israelites were in the wilderness or the length of time between the Old and New Testament but for some reason, there is a disconnect. If you have prayed a prayer over and over with no response, be encouraged: God has worked in people like you all through Scripture. He heard the cry of the oppressed Israelites in the wilderness and Hannah asking for a child. God always shows up but it’s even more beautiful to us when our need is great and we’ve persistently sought His help.
In this passage, Paul wrestled with a prayer request He did not have answered. Look at the Lord’s response: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” In his need, God was glorified. In Paul’s need, we see the supremacy of God, that He is enough. We also see that it was God at work through Paul, not something Paul could do and add to his resume. We can get frustrated with God when we have unanswered prayers—Psalms and Lamentations are full of those moments. This is part of the way God has wired us. But when we find ourselves crying out to God over and over again, we also have to remember who He is, regardless of the circumstances we see before us. A.W. Tozer puts it this way: “Sometimes I go to God and say, ‘God, if Thou dost never answer another prayer while I live on this earth I will still worship Thee as long as I live and in the ages to come for what Thou hast done already.’ God’s already put me so far in debt that if I were to live one million millenniums I couldn’t pay Him for what He’s done for me.” May we take heart that our God is in the work of restoration: bringing us to Himself and working in our lives even in our lowest moments.
- Have you been waiting on an answer to a prayer? How does Paul’s testimony encourage you?
- What are some of your favorite Bible stories? What do they teach you about who God is?
- Pray and talk to God about your frustration in your unanswered prayers, ask Him to take you deeper in your understanding of who He is.
 A. W. Tozer, Worship: The Missing Jewel (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1992).