«I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord» (2 Corinthians 12:1, NIV).
IN 2 C0RINTHIANS 12, the apostle talked about his privilege of having been called by Christ Himself. Nevertheless, Paul did not boast about it. In order to avoid pride and self-glorification, God allowed the apostle to have a thorn in the flesh (v. 7). Paul was probably referring to some apparent physical illness, something that caused him considerable difficulty, as well as discomfort and inconvenience. However, that difficulty helped the great Paul to be completely dependent on God’s grace.
By depending on the power of God in his frailty, the apostle considered himself strong precisely because he was weak
In his ministry, the apostle was able to deal with the weaknesses of others because he was aware of his own. This helped him to show an interest in people—not in their possessions or in the advantages of being with them, but in their well-being. And in his concern, he tried to help solve or avoid any arguments, schemes, and selfishness that there might have been among his children in the faith.
Paul asked God three times for the solution to his «thorn» (v. 7), but he did not get an answer (vv. 7—9). Paul was not the kind of worshipper who prayed and just did not get answers. He prayed, and the prison of Philippi shook and the jailer was saved. He prayed, and 276 people were saved in an incredible shipwreck However, he prayed three times about his physical problem, and three times God said «no.»
Have you asked God for something, and it seemed that He was silent? God’s silence hurts like no other, because it seems to be apathy or indifference on His part. Beyond that, there is perhaps something worse: when God answers us and says «no.»
That is when faith comes into play. Paul understood that God’s «no» was a «yes.» Then, he strengthened his dependence on the Lord, became strong in his weakness, and began to accept his weaknesses gladly. This turned into a blessing for him, and he was able to bless many through his own experience.
Some say that «the one who hopes despairs.» It does not have to be like that if we trust in the One who is in control, God Himself. His silences, His «noes,» and His time are always the most opportune and the best.
Let us look at life with other lenses, the same ones the apostle had to use to understand and strengthen himself in God’s will, and accept it. «Christ connects fallen man in his weakness and helplessness with the Source of infinite power» (Steps to Christ, p. 20).
This is how a «no» from God can be the greatest «yes» for your life.
Paul was a «foolish» man who always had a difficult path. His life did not have a mission; the mission had him. Paul was constantly revived by that passion.