Saturday, 3 March 2012

Hard thanks....

I have been challenged by a thought this last week or so, that has now recently come up in conversation with some lovely ladies online.

How do we give thanks in the hard times?  How can we be thankful for things that are


A little context goes a long way, so I will tell you what lies behind the verses first of all.

Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, was speaking of a revelation that he had received from the Lord.  He was glorying and rejoicing in it, presumably due to the fact that it was a pretty amazing experience, humanly speaking.

But, the Lord sent him a lesson in it all.  He allowed Paul to have a "thorn in the flesh", following this experience.  We don't know what it was - we are not told.  We just know that it was an unpleasant thing, that was bad enough to implore with the Lord that it should be taken away.

3 times he pleaded with the Lord.

As far as we read, his prayer wasn't answered.  Instead, he came to learn a valuable and insightful lesson about trials.

And, so we read the following verses.

"And he said unto me, 
My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness

Most gladly therefore will I rather

glory in my infirmities,

 that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

Therefore I 

take pleasure 

in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: 

for when I am weak, 

then am I strong."
II Corinthians 12:9-10

So. Utterly. Humbling.

So. Utterly. Amazing.

So. Utterly. Challenging.

Do we have trials and struggles that we are going through?

Do we have days where we just want to crawl into a hole and die?

Do we have days where we just think we can't take any more?

Ohhhhhhhhhh yes.

Yes, yes, and YES again.

But, do you SEE? you SEE how Paul responded?

"OK Lord....I guess I need to just endure these trials....with a sour face...with a gloomy countenance....with a "why me" sort of response....."

Sorry, I got confused for a moment...I confused MY response with the one I *should* have to my trials.

The one that Paul had.

Look...just look at those adjectives....those words that describe how Paul responded.




Really, Lord?

You want me to be GLAD that I have struggles?   To be GLAD when pain racks my body?  To be GLAD when my children drive me close to insanity with their squabbling and disobedience?

You want me to consider it a GLORY when my house looks a wreck because my strength is gone and I can't do a single more thing?  You want me to GLORY in my pain and distress when friends and family mock, argue and disagree?

You want me to TAKE PLEASURE in the days and hours when I just cannot seem to find the strength to carry on? In the torments and difficulties of my life?

But, OH, the beauty of the realisation.  Of the understanding of WHY....

"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness...

...that the power of Christ may rest upon me...

...for Christ's sakefor when I am weak, then am I strong"

Our weakness shows Christ's strength.  

Our trials allow us to experience Christ's power resting upon us.

Our pains remind us that ALL of what we experience, do and say, is for Christ's sake.

That HIS glory would be made known.  That HIS goodness would be recognised.  That HIS grace would be sufficient.

Us all nothing.

Him everything.

Ladies, let us embrace the thorns.  Let us grasp them, with two willing hands.  Let us REJOICE in them.  Because by His grace, we see HIM through the trials.  The casting away of our own plans, our own designs, our own perfections - replacing them with the plans, designs and perfections of our perfect Father.

May we run to Him, rejoicing, and find strength in our weakness.


  1. What Jenny said. I found it VERY helpful. X bethan x

  2. Thanks for that! It was such a help and challenge to me. I must remember the text as I start this new week at work.

  3. Reminds me of Peter when he walked on the water to Jesus, all the time he looked at Christ he was able to as soon as he looked at the sea and thought about the situation and looked to himself he sank, When we look at our problems rather than look at them in light of Christ, we sink. Thank you for sharing such gems with us, God bless you

  4. Ooooh, that's a hard one. It's easy to *say* the words, but oh, for those with really hard trials to be able to glory, and to *rejoice* in sufferings..... Well, that would take grace indeed. I pray that whatever God has for me in His 'cup of providence', that I'd, by His grace, be enabled 'in all things, to Give Thanks'