“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 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.” 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 Cor. 12:7-10)
In order for us to see what’s going on in these verses, I have to go back and give you the context for us to rightly understand the power of our passage. You see, in the previous few chapters in 2 Corinthians we find out that the false teachers who had come into the city of Corinth were not only teaching but boasting of their abilities, of their power, and of their intellectual prowess to be able to know and teach such lofty truths. Paul then in response to these empty boasts of the false teachers, responds by boasting himself. But Paul’s boasting isn’t like the false teachers boasting. Paul lays it out clear in 2 Corinthians 11 that out of anyone who could have boasted Paul had a reason for boasting.
“Am I not a Hebrew? Am I not an Israelite? Did any other other nations receive the promises of God as we did? Was I not the most learned Pharisee? More than that I have endured 39 lashes not once but five times, I’ve been stoned once, beaten with rods twice, and shipwrecked three times. I’ve been on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Not only this but I’ve received the most amazing visions of heaven I can’t even repeat what was told to me and I’m not even sure if I was in my physcial body or not.” No one else could say such things, actually I don’t think anyone else would want to boast about things like these. But Paul had reason to boast, he had been tossed from the fire to the frying pan more times than most would remember. But he doesn’t boast in his mighty strength or in his mighty power or that his intellectual equipment is fully functional. What then was Paul’s boasting?
Lets walk through our 4 verses to see what God has for us.