2 Corinthians 12:7b – Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. (NRSV)
I was driving down the Interstate and had an arterial venial malformation — a leak in my brain — and as a result, within fifteen seconds, I was totally unconscious. The end result was two brain surgeries and six years of seizures that led to major stroke-like conditions.
I have two lists today. One says, "I can't use my left side, I can't think and act quickly, nor remember well. I can't lift the grandchildren, nor drive to where I need to go. I don't have normal energy, I can't continue my ministry, I can't go fishing, nor play at my hobby in my wood shop. I wasn't a Charles Spurgeon, but I could do ministry. In fifteen seconds I could do nothing!"
But I have a second list. It is much shorter. It says, "You've survived the Interstate experience, two brain surgeries, and six years of bad seizures." I remembered Moses' words to Joshua: "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." (Deuteronomy 31:8 NRSV) The second list: God's grace.
I remembered the trials of Job and the "thorn in the flesh" that St. Paul wrote about in today's Scripture. I prayed, "Thank You, Lord, for giving me grace not to be angry but to see Your love for me, to see Your Son, Jesus, suffering on Calvary's cross, in these days. Thanks for Your love in the sunshine and the rain! Thanks more for Your grace that far exceeds my reach."
Therefore, with deep gratitude, I am thankful for God's grace that overcomes anger. This grace is available to each one of us when we ask for it.
Prayer: Lord God, until we can turn things over to You, we can never know freedom from bitterness, fear, loss, helplessness, and anger. Today we bring our all to You, just as we are, pleading for Your mercy. Amen.