By: Minoka Gunesekera
In today’s passage from second Corinthians we hear Paul ask his audience to boast in weakness….
…to live outside of the idea that we are beyond failure.
… to realize that our brokenness, not our boasting, leads to God.
Grace brings love when all we feel is the pain of our thorns.
For Paul, brokenness is manifested in an unnamed thorn in his side. Paul's thorn is personal. His exchanges with the church at Corinth were messy and heated. Their relationship looked like a marriage on the brink of disaster. Paul’s thorn (and ours) is a reminder of our fallibility. We aren’t superheroes, but rather humans. We feel pain and heartbreak. In the midst of his verbal exchange with God in verse 8, Paul pleads for divine intervention; to get rid of this pain as fast as possible.
I don’t blame Paul for wanting his thorn to be removed, whatever it might have been. In the months after my father past away I prayed for the pain to be gone. But God answered me and answered Paul by saying “my grace is sufficient” (vs 9). I learned to lean on grace – God’s reminder to us that God hasn’t let go. Grace brings love when all we feel is the pain of our thorns.
Grace gives life because it flips tables and asks us to remember from whom we were created and for who we are to live. As grace gives life it disrupts what is no longer for us. Grace pushes us to deny our participation in an anxiety driven society. God’s grace unsettles our human craving to be perfect. When we move away from perfection and towards a story of grace our lives will speak louder than any boasting ever could.
It is not that we won’t acknowledge that pain of our thorns, but we know that our thorns do not have the final say.
The dominant narrative in our world is to show our strength so that others will see our perfection. But God calls us show to show our weakness so that we are reminded of the divine love. As Christians, we have been entrusted with the news that the oppressive systems of the world lack staying power and authority. When we boast in weakness we attest to a world beyond our thorns. It is not that we won’t acknowledge that pain of our thorns, but we know that our thorns do not have the final say.
My prayer for us all is that we move towards being a hope-telling community. Let us tell the hope we have for God’s grace in our lives! Let us boast in our weaknesses and show the world that there is more than our thorns, more than our pain, because God’s grace is sufficient for us all!
- How can we leave room in our lives so that God’s grace can transform not only us, but the world?
- What was a thorn in your life? How was God’s grace sufficient, even in the face of that difficulty?