I never understood Paul’s statement about a thorn in the flesh until February 26, 2014. As my family grieved over losing my granddaughter, I learned lessons about grace through the journey of pain.
Most don’t consider pain an act of God’s grace but rather a curse. As with everything else, it is about perspective. If we are teachable, the most painful circumstances can be the grace of God at work on our behalf. Being conformed to the image of Christ involves suffering. If we want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, we must participate in His suffering.
Paul outlines three valuable lessons about grace and pain in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. First, pain keeps us dependent on God’s grace. Second, pain makes us aware of our weakness so God’s strength can be seen in us. Finally, pain keeps us from becoming filled with pride.
The grace of pain comes in many forms. For some, physical pain and suffering are chronic. For others, pain is a broken marriage, a wayward child, the loss of a loved one, or the struggle with depression and anxiety.
Regardless of pain’s avenue, there should be only one destination: the foot of the cross. This is where we decide God will be glorified. With the decision to trust God, pain becomes an act of His grace.
Pain teaches us dependency, perseverance, and blind trust in God. Pain causes our roots to go deeper than before, making us stronger. It establishes our belief that God is trustworthy with His plans and callings for us. Pain makes us like a mighty oak planted by streams of living water.
As peculiar as it may seem, there is something sweet about the grace of pain. When the seasons end, we almost miss them. Maybe not the pain itself but the immeasurable grace poured out through the unfathomable love and intimacy of God.
Let your focus become God’s grace and the pain His purpose. Then arise with a quiet confidence in His strength. No person or situation can remove the grace of pain.
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