The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Before They Call"
Paul's thrice-offered prayer for deliverance from his thorn led not to its removal, but rather to the Lord's promise of grace to endure the painful challenge.
"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (II Corinthians 12:7-9).
Note that Paul's prayer did not result in the Lord's bestowal of grace. The Apostle already possessed that, as do all believers. "The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 1:14). Paul rather required the knowledge that he possessed God's freely given favor, presence, and enabling, that is, His grace. His brother and fellow laborer in the Gospel, the Apostle Peter, illuminates such blessedness:
"His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (II Peter 1:3).
Note the past tense regarding such assurance of grace. In Christ, Paul possessed the capacity to bear his thorn, to the degree of "exceeding abundant" and "all things that pertain to life and godliness." However, he needed to know it, just as he needed to be told that the thorn would not be removed. The same often characterizes our Lord's way in our lives. When the Lord allows challenges to remain, He also bears witness by His Word and His Spirit that sufficient grace is present and available to empower our enduring in faith and faithfulness. When we pray for God to grant grace, we actually seek His illumination that we already possess such blessedness. "God… hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the Heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).
Trouble, pain, and difficulty awaken us to seek the grace we already possess. The life of faith in the Lord Jesus involves ongoing discovery that in the moment of our new birth, we received God's supply for every moment of time, and every glory of eternity. It often doesn't look or feel as if such provision already graces our need with abundant supply. But it does. As Jacob of old admitted at Bethel, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not!" (Genesis 28:16). This was Paul's discovery. It will be ours as well, whether God removes our thorns or allows them to remain. Certainly we may ask for grace, and our Heavenly Father will not be offended. His supply, however, will involve the opening of our eyes to see the grace already given. We do well to realize such blessed truth, and to affirm that regarding God's grace in Christ, supply always precedes need…
"Before they call, I will answer."
"All things are yours... and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's."
(I Corinthians 3:21; 23)
Weekly Memory Verse
"Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy and Thy truth's sake."