Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
How can someone “take pleasure” in sickness or personal calamity?
Just one verse prior to this passage, Paul admits the reason why he was “blessed” with his thorn in the flesh—so he wouldn’t think he was God’s gift to the world through his numerous revelations. As far as we know, John didn’t need such a thorn, and look at the revelations HE received. The last book of the Bible is named after them.
But God knew Paul. And his experience was not a punishment, by any means.
Somehow, Paul enjoyed such very close communication with Christ. I don’t know if Jesus personally appeared to Paul or if Paul heard His audible voice or if he saw the words in a tortilla. But he definitely heard from God himself on this one, and it was enough to turn his attitude around a thousand percent!
Paul knew something that I need to remember: I don’t have to take pleasure in the disease or attacks. I take pleasure in my state of weakness because I know what’s coming down the road!
And it doesn't matter what the infirmity is. I think that's why the Word never spells it out for us. Maybe God doesn't want us to read a specific ailment or life condition, lest we be tempted to always label it "the thorn God allows." It's a whatever. Whatever we face, we can pray. Don't ever stop praying. Allow God to speak to your heart. Because the lesson to learn is the thing that's about to come. I must never be concerned with how or when it will come, but it WILL come. And what is that?
Look at the words in the passage—“power” and “strong.” “In” those infirmities (or put another way, in the period while I’m experiencing them), I can boast, not about me, but about what Christ is about to do. Wow! Did you get that?
Take heart, dear friend. It’s coming. Or more specifically, HE’S coming. And He’s coming in power and strength, through His grace. And He’s using YOU for His good purpose!