St. Paul is famous for struggling with some sort of flaw that he called a “thorn in his flesh.” Whatever it was, Paul felt that the “thorn” made him appear foolish in public and hampered his ability to do God’s work effectively.
Yet, Paul does not give up or shrink from his calling but resolves to “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 Cor. 12:9b-10). Paul did serve God and God’s people in many places, no matter what he thought would prevent him from succeeding.
We may wish that the pain of failure, humiliation, and rejection would go away, but we need to know that it may not. This is not because God does not care or does not hear us when we plead for mercy. It means, simply, that God is not dissuaded from partnering with us, no matter how inadequate or overwhelmed we may feel.
This message is excerpted from “Tears, thorns and the power to recover from failure” by Susan Schneider in the September 2022 Café online magazine.
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