Nearly everyone prays for deliverance from trials. Even people who don’t believe that God exists will turn their attention toward heaven in their hour of need. This is one way that God draws people to Himself. He brings to a place of desperation, where they realize that it is impossible to live with His help.
Sometimes, God does deliver. He heals our sicknesses. He turns the tides. He miraculously works things to our advantage. But other times, He answers differently. Other times, God looks at us and says:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
This is what God said to Paul, who pleaded with the Lord to remove the “thorn in his flesh.” We’re not sure what that thorn was, but it was serious enough for Paul to repeatedly ask for its removal.
But God did not remove it. He allowed Paul to continue to suffer in order that Paul might lean more completely on God’s power.
God does this for all of us in some ways. He makes us hard of hearing to remind us that we need Him even for our ears to work. He gives us special needs children to point to the great mercy with which He cares for us. He keeps us jobless for years to help us see that He provides all our needs. And over and over again, in countless ways, the Lord chooses our weaknesses to be the means by which He shows His strength.
And when we trust this power, this all-sufficient grace, we can say along with Paul:
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.