Where is my focus…my thorn or God’s Grace and His Power?

“So, to keep me from becoming conceited……. A thorn was given me in the flesh, a
messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I
pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But, He said to me, ‘My
grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will
boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ my rest on
me.” II Corinthians 12:7-9 ESV
The longer we live on this earth, the more we recognize a “thorn in the flesh.” The
“thorn” may come in various forms of chronic pain, a disease, mental/emotional illness,
relationship conflicts or other maladies. Whatever it is, it screams louder than any
other voice in our head, demanding our attention day after day. We seem to forget that
we actually have a choice as to what we focus on. In August of 2015 I was diagnosed
with Parkinson’s Disease. It felt like someone hit me in the gut and it penetrated to my
soul. At the time, we lived in Dothan where I was a busy pastor’s wife. Also, I was
caring for my mom with Alzheimer’s in a nursing facility as well as my dad in a
retirement village, both in Dothan. I had never known anyone who had Parkinson’s
who functioned independently so the picture in my mind was futile. As word of my
diagnosis leaked out in the community, people offered kind encouraging words. I put
on a good face and told them I was trusting the Lord while actually I was scared to
death and slipping into depression. Finally, after 2 years of pretending I was fine, I had
a long talk with the Lord. After pouring out my heart to Him with questions of ‘Why?”,
He gently wrapped His blanket of love around me and led me to His words of comfort
in II Corinthians. In II Corinthians 12:7-9 after begging God three times to take his
thorn away, Paul heard Him say, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made
perfect in weakness.” Then Paul realizes he actually has a choice. The word
“sufficient” has the connotation that God was enough in the past and He continues to
be more than enough for the present and the future. From this realization, Paul chose
to be content in his weakness so Christ’s perfect power could rest on him. The same
choice was available for me! God’s grace and power had not changed. It was enough
in the past and it would be enough to carry me into the future. I just needed to keep
my focus on Him.
We also have a choice of where to focus. The better option seems to be to focus on
God’s plentiful grace and perfect power and strength. When we see all He is during in
our struggles in this life, we can’t help but have a heart of thankfulness and praise for
our awesome God!
Where is your focus today? Is it on your “thorn” or your Savior? God reminds us in
Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”