Summary: This series on heaven will show how we can have true joy on this earth when we know where we are really going.
As we start this lesson on what heaven is like I always like to talk about the Apostle Paul and His vision of heaven. It is because of this vision that he was given a thorn in the flesh. I have had a migraine for 3 days and tried to get up earlier this morning but just could not. Most of you know I have suffered with these for over 30 years. This is my thorn. If the Lord gave me a choice to not have His words to write to you and be headache free or have this gift and have headaches I would choose the headaches. I would have missed too much if I was not able to talk to you everyday. A lot of you write in how much I encourage you. I would have to say that you have encouraged me far more than I have ever encouraged you. I truly do not know what I would do without all of you. So I am thankful no matter what the pain level is as long as I am able to write to you and talk about the glory that is coming.
Many of you also suffer whether in the body or from a past tragedy. Sometimes the pain is taken away but for the most part it is not. I have always had a hard time accepting God’s grace. I don’t mind giving out grace to others but it is tough for me to accept. But maybe that is why the thorn is kept there.
2 Corinthians 12:2-10 “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say. To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I would like to talk about this passage for the next couple days as there are so many truths and hope of our eternal future. Plus it gives us hope that we have done nothing wrong when we suffer, but we suffer so we can experience God’s grace. Maybe you have a tough time also and don’t know it. I know it is not by chance that you are receiving this daily devotional especially today. The Lord has allowed me to encourage you for the past 13 years and I am very grateful. I pray that I get another 13 years. But 13 years in the course of billions of years for eternity in heaven for the believer seems very short, doesn’t it?
When I get these headaches it is so debilitating that I cannot do just the normal tasks with my family. So why the pain? What did I do wrong? You may be asking yourself the same question today. “I have had this pain for so long, WHY”. I believe that God loves you enough to allow you to have a thorn. Is it better to live without pain and be far from God or with pain and close to God? Now I am not saying that people without pain are not close to God. God just uses others means to show them His grace. But for those who live in constant pain sometimes you know that after pleading with God many times it doesn't go away you are stumped. Today we will be going over the last part of this verse.
2 Corinthian 12:8,9 “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Many of you have cancer, a terminal illness, a death of a child, live in constant pain and worry. So how can one word help everything?