Gifts are a great way that people can express the love that they have for others. When we think about some of the most treasured gifts that people have given us, we remember the “gift” that Paul was given. The purpose of this gift was very clear, it was to bring him humility and to increase his dependence on Christ.
Worry has always been an incredible challenge for me. Although I pray and declare the trust I have in God, worry can creep into my thoughts and heart and torment me, as it has for a very long time.
“I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
In Corinthians, Paul speaks about how there was something that tormented him. Experts have debated for centuries what the thorn was, but we will never know the specifics. As he pleaded for God to remove it from him, the purpose of this “gift”, as Paul goes on to say, is that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. Our shortcomings and struggles can be a gift from God that causes us to know Him and be dependent upon him. Paul shares that it would be far more difficult for him if he did not have a thorn in his flesh.
Although I do not always consider my struggles with worry as a gift, when I see the purpose that some of these struggles have in my life, I understand the incredible benefit. It becomes apparent that these challenges and hardships can be a blessing, if I am able to learn and share Paul’s great attitude about his affliction.
When we evaluate the things that God wants to do with our lives, we should remember that He may use us in incredible ways, and that we can be useful to him, because of the “gift” he has given us. God won’t remove some of the things that challenge and torment us in life, so we can experience the fullness of understanding that His grace is sufficient, and the true gift is the realization that when we are weak, we are strong.
Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.
More information can be found at FCA.org.