"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:8-9
Paul asked for this "thorn" (v. 7) to be taken away from him three times. Three times. That's all he tells the people of Corinth. But this thorn is significant enough for him to write about. It bothers him that much. I don't know about you, but when something bothers me, I talk about it. A lot. And boy, do I tell God about it. Way more than three times.
My boy is sick. Really sick. Some days are better than others. I tell a lot of people, "I'm fine." and "He's okay." But, the reality is, he's sick. He's sick and that's compounded by the special needs we've always known. And loved.
A couple of nights ago we had a tough night. Sometimes people, even in a specialty hospital, don't understand the quirks of special needs. We don't do change. And hospitals (read: doctors) like to change things without notice. Or they say they are changing things aaand ... we wait. These schedules aren't special-needs friendly. So, by the time all was said and done, so were we.
He cried. I cried. I pleaded and begged God over and over for help. It seemed his pain, our pain, was never-ending that night. There was no magic wand miracle coming down from heaven that God was going to bestow on that moment. I wasn't even asking for the big healing. (Though, I've asked for plenty of that, too.) I only wanted some relief in the moment. I needed my boy to feel the comfort of sleep; that peace that only rest can give. But, the pain kept on.
Paul says he asked three times. I know I asked at least thirty-three. More. I lost count of the number of times I cried through tears, "Please, God, help us." It took Paul only three times to understand:
"My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness."
I wanted to see angels in the room holding us close. I wanted to hear it was okay, God has this all under his control; some kind of lifeline straight from Heaven. But, what I got was this: a Bible verse that said don't just boast about being weak, gladly boast about your weaknesses. Then Christ's power can rest on us. This wasn't the lifeline I was looking for that night. But, Christ's power? That's a lifeline of the greatest kind.
Okay, maybe I would have freaked a little if I saw actual angels in the room (Isaiah 6:2-4, Rev.10:1). But, I would have settled for that magic moment of silence. Not me falling asleep face first at the foot of my son's bed with dried tears on my face. But there it is, my weak moment. And you know what? He slept. Eventually.
I don't like any of this one bit. If I could choose my own adventure, like the books my brother read when he was a kid, I would not choose this one. Ever. But God sees the big picture. The whole adventure. And he's using it to make his power perfect. So until that time, his grace is all I need.