In his second letter to the church in Corinth, Paul put considerable effort into establishing his authority with them, his credentials as an apostle, the things he had suffered for the cause of Christ, and the many contrasts between himself and others who claimed to be apostles.

He had been, he told them, taken into the third heaven, where he saw things that cannot be expressed in words, and that no human being is allowed to disclose to another. And to keep Paul from becoming proud, God had also given him a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him humble.

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“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away,” Paul writes. “Each time, He said ‘My Grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8,9 NLT.

How often we ask God to take away our troubles, our setbacks and heartaches. We ask Him to change our difficult circumstances, and to change the difficult people in our relationships. But can it be that in those times when we think He is not hearing us, that really we are not hearing Him? Is He whispering to us as He did to Paul ‘My Grace is all you need; My power works best in weakness’?

Paul learned to take pleasure in his difficulties, his weakness, his troubles suffered for the cause of Christ, because it was in these times that the Power of Christ was with him. In his weakness, He experienced the strength of Christ.

God wants us to experience Himself, His Grace in our time of need. And we cannot experience the fact that His Grace is all we need unless we have real times of need, when His Grace is all we have. It is then that we find His Grace sufficient for every trial, His strength that carries us past our weakness through the situation. And we will know, without question, that the victory was won by the Power of God in us, not by our own strength.

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