Thursday, July 02, 2009

Quick Look at 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

In 2 Cor 12:7-10 (TM), Paul discusses his infamous thorn in the flesh, and it proves to be a rich field of study, mainly because we have here the primary human author of the New Testament, and he’s not getting what he asks for in prayer. I’m sorry, but that’s notable.

The first thing you notice is that he sought the Lord three times for the thorn to be removed, so it’s clear that it was a big enough deal for him to ask, and then he didn’t just ask, he sought the Lord, pleading. What I get from this is three full-blown seasons of seeking God’s will on this, and he finally hears God’s answer, so he hung in there.

The second thing you get is that answer. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” This is all your gonna get. This is a ticket for a free ride to quit whining, to get on with life, a dry-eyed, clear-path trail through the ruins of whatever-you-were-hoping-for, onward to what your life is actually going to be.

You are given grace, which is the free ticket part of the whole deal: it’s grace, stupid. Duh. It’s the guarantee that you can, indeed, make it through this. Sometimes we complain that a person doesn’t seem too concerned about whatever trouble they’ve found themselves in, but isn’t that the goal? That particular point could probably stand a lot of unpacking, and maybe I will do that at another time, there is a kind of indifference to results that indicates no direction, no drive, no ambition, but that’s often misconstrued for the actual working of grace, that allows you to despise (think Jesus despising (TM)the shame of the cross) all that as you keep your gaze fixed on the prize. We too often get derailed by minor points, or troubles that are beside-the-point. Grace is like peace in these situations; it lets you move on.

The third thing you get is how not-high-minded-or-spiritual this grace thing is. It’s a huge, cool thing. Do you see people born into money acting all apologetic or thinking they’re failures? Not as a general rule, you don’t. But they’re recipients of grace, also. So maybe we should take a cue from them whenever God decides to give us a free ride, and not hang our head about it.

Paul goes on to talk about bragging about his infirmities, “that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Look at me, Paul says, this is POWER.

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