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A Messenger Of Satan

As our New Covenant family journeys through the book of Job, we can all find ourselves at times relating painfully to the experience of Job, which we often refer to as our own “Job experience.” Isn’t it wonderful how God speaks so clearly to our life experience in His Word?

There came a time in the life of the apostle Paul when he pleaded with God for healing from a troubling affliction. Instead, God gave him the grace and the power to live with and even rejoice in his affliction. Here is the account from 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me - to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored 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. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Did you notice that the thorn was “a messenger of Satan”? Sound familiar? And to whom did Paul go to get relief from this messenger of Satan? That’s right. God!

What does that tell you about Paul’s theology, and hopefully yours? Paul knew that God was sovereign, even over Satan. He asked God three times to remove that troubling thorn, even as Jesus asked His Father three times in Matthew’s gospel to take the cup from Him.

And what was God’s answer to Paul? His answer was this: “The thorn is staying, but My grace is sufficient to help you live with that thorn.” God’s power is seen, completed, experienced and perfected in our weakness. Think about the paradox of that statement.

With this answer from God, and the truth of this realization, is it any wonder that Paul’s exuberant response was that he most gladly would rather boast about his weaknesses that the power of Christ might dwell in him?

So, what’s the big take-away? You can live with your “thorn”. You can live with whatever you’re going through right now that God won’t stop or take away. The “thorn” will not destroy you. In fact, as you allow it to serve its intended purpose in your life, you may experience God’s power in a way you have never experienced it before! You can handle that thing, that challenge, that heartache, that hurt “according to the power that works within us” (Eph. 3:20).

This is the power that will actually make you want to boast about your weakness, because it demonstrates the power of grace that you might not otherwise experience. It is power that you don’t earn or merit but is made available to you because of the life of Jesus within you. For that reason, you can bear whatever comes your way, saying with Paul, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil.4:13).

Allow Paul’s experience and Job’s experience to inform your experience. Is it your goal to rather boast about your weaknesses, so that the power of Christ might dwell in you? It is on this path that many suffering, grieving people have found strong comfort and even joy in the midst of pain.

Pastor Dan Huf

Many of these thoughts have come from a book my wife and I have been reading, “When the Hurt Runs Deep” by Kay Arthur, chapter 14.