“My grace is sufficient for you.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
The scriptures teach us that there are two types of grace. The first is grace for salvation, where we are saved by the grace of God regardless of our works. The second type of grace is the strength God gives for moment-by-moment needs. It is this second grace that the apostle Paul refers to in this verse.
We don’t know what exactly Paul’s thorn in the flesh was. A wide variety of physical ailments have been suggested. What we do know is this was a messenger from Satan. It was some torment or pain that served to humble Paul, keeping him dependent on God for moment-by-moment help. Paul found that God’s help never ran out; it was there for whatever the moment demanded. Grace was always in full supply.
We might do well to think of this second kind of grace as an unlimited bank account. Placed in our heavenly account are unlimited funds of strength and help. Our Lord stands ready to meet any amount of grace we require. No bill we have to pay will ever be greater than what is laid up for us in our account. Whatever the moment needs, resources are available. We can draw on our resources at any moment, day or night. It’s waiting for us.
It’s very likely that God does not clearly tell us the nature of Paul’s thorn so that we realize that his grace is not limited to certain specific cases. It is available to help with whatever thorn may be piercing our flesh. Limitless help for unlimited types of need—that’s the grace of God.
Missionary life provides a great variety of thorns in the flesh. Unpredictable achaba drivers, untrustworthy water and electricity are just a few examples. Is there a thorn piercing your soul today? Some painful circumstance or trial that you wish could be removed. Even prayers for its removal go unanswered. Perhaps like Paul, God wants you to discover the riches of his grace—unlimited help for your need today.
Prayer starter: Thank you for my grace account. Remind me of it as I go through this day.
About the Author: Lyndon Wall served as a pastor in Alberta, Canada for fourteen years. He has also served the Jos, Nigeria mission community by providing pastoral care. Lyndon is the founder of Refresh Ministries, which is dedicated to helping people in ministry enjoy “healthy souls.” Lyndon earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
This excerpt is from Lyndon’s devotional book “Refresh“. Lyndon wrote “Refresh“ specifically for pastors, missionaries, and ministry workers whose souls have been parched by the stresses and tests of life. Stress is a reality of life. It can harm and drain us of vital energy. It must be responded to wisely. This devotional book was written to help you encounter Jesus Christ, the great refresher of the soul and give insights that will help you live with a renewed and joyful heart.