Read 2 Corinthians 12:7–9
His mother chose “Andrew” on March 15, 1767, when she gave birth to her son who grew into the independent-minded South Carolina rebel nicknamed “Old Hickory.” Andrew answered the call for soldiers to resist the British invasion when he was only 13. Shortly thereafter, he was taken prisoner. Refusing to black an enemy officer’s boots, he was struck with a saber—Andrew’s introduction to pain.
Although he bore the marks of that blow for the rest of his life, Andrew’s fiery disposition never waned. He chose to settle arguments in duels and lived most of his days with two bullets painfully wedged in his body. After he distinguished himself on the battlefield, his name became a national synonym for valor and stern persistence. When politics nodded in his direction, “Old Hickory” accepted the challenge: first the Senate, then the nomination for president. The shadow of pain appeared again in another form as he lost a narrow race with John Quincy Adams.
Andrew Jackson eventually became president, but his political career was painful, to say the least. A nasty scandal split his cabinet, and critics clawed at him like hungry lions. Although he stood firm for many months, the telling signs of pain began to manifest themselves. He was one of the few men who left office, however, more popular than when he came. That story reminds me of another remarkable leader who served effectively, despite excruciating pain.
I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:7–9)
I’m guessing you and I both need to let Paul’s words sink in today. If you’re breathing, you’ve got something that you long for the Lord to remove. His grace is all you need. It’s part of His mysterious but faithful plan to teach you His grace as you live with your pain. Surrender everything to Him. You can trust Him to bring new dimensions of His power in your weakness. God seems to do His best work when we are enduring our hardest times.
Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord...Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.
The full devotional can be purchased at https://www.tyndale.com/p/good-morning-lord-can-we-talk/9781414380681.