2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (NIV)
Paul’s Vision and His Thorn
12 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 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. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 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, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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. 10 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.
How do you react when God appears to be silent in answer to your urgent prayer request?
Holy Father, I have a list of concerns and requests, some deeply trouble me and are a weight on my heart. I pray earnestly to You for Your divine healing, guidance, and intervention in these things that only You can cure. I rejoice when I observe answered prayers and thank you for Your graciousness. But then there are the concerns that continue to plague my heart. There are those things where I fervently seek for Your answers and You are silent. Some of these concerns are ongoing issues that continually remind me that my prayers have not been answered, much like the thorn in Paul’s flesh. But others have an impact on people, life, and the greater good, like the riots, hatred, manipulation of the truth, abortion, and trafficking. These break my heart as I know they break yours. I look to You and trust that You are hearing my prayers, but You are silent. I struggle with rollercoaster emotions. I fight depression, fear, and panic. But those emotions are directly from the devil. When I let those emotions overcome me, there is a temptation to get in the middle of it, and “fix it”. That is not Trusting God and will only make a mess of things. I’ve done that before and even though it seemed like I was making the best of it, it wasn’t Your answer. The best thing I can do is to wait, pray and praise You in the storm. You reveal Your will to me and teach me while I wait. Waiting is not giving up but an active trust. To do that I must dig deeply into Your Word, listen to Praise music, sermons, or read of Your faithfulness. I hold on to the passages of Scripture that bring me comfort and insight. I also listen to how You want to use me in Your plan. I know that Your plan is much bigger than mine. Help me to hold on to what I already know, what I believe, and don’t make things overcomplicated by trying to take matters into my own hands. Help me to walk by faith, not by sight. Let my faith give strength to others. I know that You promised that You would never leave me or forsake me and that You are always with me. I have Your grace and Your promise of salvation and that gives me hope no matter what I am facing in the here and now. Although You seem silent now, I trust that You are doing something. Guide me in the apparent silence, build my faith and trust in You, and give me Your peace and comfort. Amen