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by Alan Smith

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    I heard about a youth minister (yeah, here comes one of those preacher’s stories) who sent a thank you letter to those adults who had served in some way throughout the previous year. His letter began: “Last summer I asked you to consider working as a youth coach in our church’s junior high youth group. I am thankful for your acceptance of that challenge over this past school year. You may have felt extremely incapable as you thought about working with junior highers, but you claimed 2 Corinthians 12:9 nevertheless.”

    The youth minister was referring to Paul’s statement, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” However, his secretary made the mistake of typing 2 Corinthians 12:8 as the scripture reference. It reads, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me!” (Anyone who has worked with junior high or middle school teenagers may think the latter is more accurate.)

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me!”
    Though the particular verse quoted may not have conveyed the proper thought, that whole passage in 2 Corinthians is a powerful lesson to us. Through it, we learn that God does not always grant us what we request in prayer. Sometimes our Father sees that what would be best for us is not the same thing as what we believe would be best for us. We want the problems to disappear; God wants us to grow closer to him. We want life to be easier; God wants us to mature and be strengthened. Listen again:

“Concerning this thing [the thorn in the flesh] I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

    Perhaps there is a trial in your life that you are praying for God to remove. He may do so. But if he does not, may God bless you with grace and strength.

 
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      © 2002, Alan Smith. Used by permission. This devotional was reprinted from Thought for the Day.

      Title: ""
      Author: Alan Smith
      Publication Date: August 11, 2002


 

 
 
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