God is not wasting the pain in your life. He never wastes a wound. As you go through the dark, deep valleys in your life, remember that the great Apostle Paul was even pounded by the evil one. All hell seemed to be against him. In his moment of darkness he begs God to get rid of this thorn in his flesh, this messenger of satan that was harassing him. (II Corinthians 12:8)
What messenger of satan has come your way? Does it feel like there is a thorn deep in your flesh, and you can find no relief? Have you pleaded with God to just take it away? Paul did. He cried out to God not just once, but three times. And still God chose not to remove his thorn.
In all of this Paul learned something special. God simply spoke to him and said, “I have provided grace for you. Sufficient grace. Grace to remind you and reassure you that through this weakness, I will show My Power.” Paul got the message. He declared that he would be, not just “ok” with this, but that he would be most glad about it. He went on to say that he would not only be content with the “thorn” but also with insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. He understood that you can’t control your life. God will be at work. He will use the “thorn”…the messenger of satan, to remind you that He is all you need. He is in control. Look around you. Can you see it? Grace… more and more grace…
Tim Clinton, Ed. D., LPC, LMFT (The College of William and Mary) is President of the nearly 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. He is Professor of Counseling and Pastoral Care, and Executive Director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University. Licensed in Virginia as both a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist, Tim now spends a majority of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He is recognized as a world leader in faith and mental health issues and has authored over 20 books including Breakthrough: When to Give In, When to Push Back. Most importantly, Tim has been married 36 years to his wife Julie and together they have two children, Megan, who is married to Ben Allison and is practicing medicine in dermatology, and Zach, who plays baseball at Liberty University. In his free time, you’ll find him outdoors or at a game with family and friends.