Lessons about God’s healing through the Life of Paul
Written by Dan Lee on 14/03/2017
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Sickness, Health, Healing, Prayer, Sovereignty
But He replied, ‘My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.’ So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am. Yes, I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for Christ. Because when I am weak, I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
There are many wonderful stories of healing in the Bible. Jesus healed many people of leprosy, blindness, lameness and other ailments. He even raised Lazarus from the dead!
No doubt you have also heard of God healing people today. God still hears our prayers for healing and has the power to heal and do all kinds of miracles.
So you may be wondering, “What about ME?” I, or someone I love, have been struggling with (name the disease) all these years. And I have prayed for healing, fasted, had people lay hands on me. So why have I not been cured?
I’m afraid that there is no simple, easy answer. But there are some principles we can learn from the Apostle Paul’s example. We hope you will find them encouraging.
1. God Has a Purpose
Earlier in this same chapter, we read: “Of course, I am now referring to the wonderful things I saw. One of Satan’s angels was sent to make me suffer terribly, so that I would not feel too proud.” (2 Corinthians 12:7).
It’s interesting that though Paul’s affliction is never specifically named, the PURPOSE for the affliction is given twice — at the beginning and at the end of verse 7: “so that I would not feel too proud.”
In the beginning of the chapter, we see that Paul had some amazing revelations — he was “caught up into the third heaven” and also “caught up into paradise” (2 Corinthians 12:2-3). These experiences were so spectacular that he would have been tempted to boast about them, or to feel superior to those who had not had these experiences.
So God chose to humble Paul with a “thorn in the flesh.” It was not random, nor a whimsical act on God’s part. It had a very specific purpose.
2. God Can Use Anything
That same verse tells us that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was “a messenger of Satan.” How can that be? Was it from God or from Satan? The answer is it was both! Satan, of course, is set against God and His purposes and His people. Satan probably enjoyed tormenting Paul. But, just as at the cross, Satan’s evil plans were turned around 180 degrees to serve God’s purposes. Satan succeeded in harassing Paul, but the result was that God used it to bring humility in Paul’s life.
3. God’s Strength is Displayed
This principle is stated three times in these two verses, in different ways:
“But he (Christ) replied, ‘My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.’ So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am. Yes, I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for Christ. Because when I am weak, I am strong.”
God wants us to develop our gifts and talents and use them for His glory. But when weak, afflicted people achieve great things, it is clear that GOD is the one who did it and He receives the glory.
Our purpose in life is to glorify God — to show His power and His greatness. And even though our circumstances may be painful or uncomfortable for us, God wants to remind us that it’s the eternal things that matter. “Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That’s why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen.” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
4. We Can be Content
“Yes, I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for Christ. Because when I am weak, I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Look at that list — a lot more things than just sickness! And yet in all those things, Paul was content for the sake of Christ, because his ultimate goal in life was God’s glory.
So when you or those you love are battling sickness, by all means, pray. But if God chooses to let an affliction persist, look for what He wants to do IN you and THROUGH you – to be humbled yourself; to show God’s great strength in you; and ultimately to give glory to God.
Pray this week:
Lord, I don’t like this sickness or affliction, and I wish I didn’t have it. But I trust that You have a higher purpose for my life, just as You did the Apostle Paul. Lord, humble me and show Your great power in me through this affliction. Use everything in my life, good and bad, to bring You glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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