“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9
Pretty wild to think about, but in just a few days we are going to be in a new decade, the 2020s! As we head into the New Year I am seeing the facebook posts and hearing the conversations that people are glad 2019 is about to be over, and that 2020 is going to be a fresh start.
Most people wouldn’t say this, but I think this is how a lot of people treat New Years. Like every year when the ball drops there is some cosmic lottery that determines if the next year…If the next 365 days…is going to be a good year or a bad year. It seems like 2019 wasn’t a great year so I must’ve drawn the short straw for 2019, but for 2020 when the ball drops and the lottery goes again, maybe this time it will be a good year.
When we explain it like that it seems pretty silly, but that seems to be subconsciously what is happening when we think, “Man, there’s a chance that 2020 can be better…2020 is my year! I am feeling lucky.” But here is the hard question that we are afraid of facing …what if 2020 is the exact same as 2019?…what if the only thing that changes in the next year is that when you write the date, instead of writing 19 you write 20? What then? What hope do we have then? Well we either depend on the cosmic lottery, or we can look to the Scriptures.
In his second letter to the Corinthians Paul described that there was something in his life, a thorn in the flesh, that he had prayed three times for the Lord to remove. He had pleaded with the Lord again, and again, and again, “Lord take this from me.” Although we don’t know exactly what it was it’s likely that Paul thought, “My life would be so much better if this thing didn’t exist.” Maybe he thought his relationships would better, or that his ministry would be better. Maybe he was just tired of carrying around the burden of this thing every single day. Regardless this is the answer God, gives to Paul.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
God says to Paul, “I will not remove this from you, but I will give you everything you need to endure it. It may not seem like it, but keep moving forward with your eyes on me. My grace is everything you need.”
For many of us, we have probably pleaded with the Lord to remove something from our lives. We might even be looking forward to 2020 with the hopes that when the clock strikes midnight that whatever is hard in our life might magically disappear. However, it’s not likely that this will happen, so what do we do?
“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.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
Paul not only embraces the thorn in his flesh, but also welcomes insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. Why would he do this? Because he knows that God’s grace is sufficient and that the power of Christ rests in our weaknesses, not our strengths. If we can be like Paul and embrace the hard things we are going to face in the next year, if we can embrace the things that suck, then we can experience the power of Jesus Christ.
Embrace the suck, experience the power of Christ, and God will be glorified in your life, in my life, and to the ends of the earth.
Happy New Years!