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Devotion: Grace in Hard Times

READ: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

When Paul wrote this, he had been going through a very hard time. He had been stoned, almost to death, in Lystra. Jewish adversaries were consistently hounding him. He had gotten word that his friends in Corinth had fallen into sin, and wrote a very difficult corrective letter (1 Corinthians) which they did not receive well.  This happened while Paul was in Ephesus, a time he explains this way, “To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.” (1 Cor. 4:11) After leaving Ephesus he had been waiting in Troas for Titus to join him, but became deeply discouraged when Titus didn’t arrive (Acts 20:4-12).  He refers to this time in his life in 2 Cor. 1:8 when he writes, “…we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.  But that was to make us rely on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.”

Whatever Paul was going through, it was really difficult. Have you experienced difficulties?  Like Paul, have you prayed and asked God to remove the difficulties in your life?  Like Paul, did God say no?  It’s not because God has less than perfect plans for you. In fact, He has an amazing message for you this morning.

Yesterday Morning the text revealed that Jesus died for us while we were weak.  Today’s text reveals that God’s power is at work in us while we are weak.  Perhaps God’s plan is to BE STRONG IN US rather than to STRENGTHEN US.

What is Paul’s conclusion about this in V. 9b-10? 

Grace. Salvation for those who are weak and helplessly trapped in sin.  Power for those who are burdened beyond their own ability to cope and despairing in life itself.  If you are weak, burdened and hurting, God specializes in doing AMAZING THINGS in people just like you. 

TODAY’S PRAYER.  

Jesus, I surrender to you. Holy spirit, fill me and empower me. By the grace of Christ provisioned on the cross, give me resurrection power in the midst of my troubles and weakness. Amen.

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