2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ďAnd lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christís sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.Ē
Often times in our lives, we find ourselves praying repetitive prayers because we are continuously asking God for something in which He has already told us ďNoĒ. God does say ďNoĒ, and the associated scripture is evidence of this truth. When God says ďNoĒ, He is telling us that ďThis is something, my dear child, that you will have to deal with. I know that you are capable of dealing with it because Iíve given you sufficient grace to handle itĒ. This reconfirms His promise that He will never put any more on us than we can bare.
Paul said that a messenger from Satan was sent to buffet him, which means Satan sent one of his imps to hit Paul hard with a mighty attack. Buffet means to hit hard. Paul realized that this was the work of Satan; therefore, he immediately sought God for deliverance. He called upon the Lord three times; thatís what thrice means; He called upon God three times asking Him to remove it, but God said ďDeal with itĒ.
When God spoke and said, ďMy grace is sufficient to theeĒ, He was telling Paul to deal with it. Therefore, if you have been asking God for something over and over again, and He has continuously denied it, He is saying, ďDeal with itĒ. There are some things in life that we will just have to learn to cope with, which means learning how to live with it. The reason He wants you to deal with it is because you are not where He needs for you to be right now. There is a little more molding that is required to make you the vessel that you are meant to be. He has to allow you to stay in the fire just a tad bit longer so that you can be used the way He needs to use you. There are still some weak spots, and some places that arenít smooth enough; therefore, you have to stay in the fire.
Paul had come a long ways, but he still had a ways to go, and God needed this thorn to help him get to where he needed to be. You may not be what you used to be, but you still arenít what God needs for you to be, which is why you are still dealing with that problem. Once youíve acquired the ability and strength to deal with it, God may very well take it away; but, even if He doesnít, you will have learned how to live with it without complaints and accept it as a necessity or a part of everyday life. It doesnít bother you like it did; itís no longer a hindrance or temptation.
I donít know what that thorn was, but we, as individuals, have thorns that we want God to move as soon as it sets in because we feel like the burdens seems to be a little bit more than you want to bare, and the load a little heavier than you desire to carry; but, itís not your choice. Itís all up to God, and when He requires that you deal with something, you must learn to deal with it. The only way that you can deal with it is to learn to lean on God and trust His strength to carry you. You cannot deal with it trying to overcome it all on your own; you donít have the power. You need Godís strength.
You may be in a marriage that your spouse is unsaved and doesnít seem to have concern for his eternal end. Because heís not saved, heís the weakest link, and Satan uses him often to tempt you and to hinder you. He does things that just doesnít make any sense to you, and you have prayed and asked God to save, deliver and heal him, but it only seems that heís getting worse. You must first learn to deal with it. You have got to learn to look beyond all that he does to hurt you, deceive you, manipulate you, and hinder you to see the spirit within crying out for compassion, understanding and salvation. Although he may tell you that he doesnít want to be saved, there is a spirit within crying out through those harsh words of anger and hate and those acts of rebellion.
The problem is the evil spirit has overcome the good spirit, and has taken control. Although there may be a small desire to know Jesus as his personal Savior, that evil spirit has been fed so long with unforgiveness and resentment, which you have helped feed, until it is so strong that it is overpowering the good spirit. Donít give up on him; it can be brought out, but youíve got to learn how to handle the situation, cope with him, deal with him. The evil spirit within him is trying to make the evil in you rise up so that Satan can control both of you so that there is no chance for salvation in your home and in your family, nor for you to be a strong force against Satan as one.
If you are the source of salvation in that household, youíve got to learn to deal with some things, some people and some situations; Iím talking about things that you could never imagine.
You may be wondering how do I deal with this person, and I know that heís a liar? How do I deal with him, and I know he is a cheat? How do I deal with him, and I know he is a thief? How can I deal with him and he doesnít even ďACTĒ like he cares?
How? Ask yourself how does God deal with me? How does God continue to forgive me when Iím disobedient? He tells me to do something, and I ignore Him, or just defy Him because I donít want to do it. How does God deal with me when Iím lying about my commitment to Him in my prayers, and He can see straight through my words to my heart? How can God deal with me when I cheat Him out of time, money, and service? I know that Iím not doing all that I can and should, but I keep on just as I am doing all that needs to be done and more. How does God deal with me?
Itís not how God deals with you; itís why? Why does God deal with you? Because He loves you unconditionally, regardless of what youíve done: the lies youíve told, the money youíve taken, the lives youíve destroyed, the disobedience, the ignorance, the attempts to deceive and manipulate Him with empty meaningless words in prayer.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, we are to deal with our spouses because we are to love them as God loves the church. We are to love them unconditionally, forgiving them of their transgressions, and allowing them new opportunities every single day to get it right. If you divorce, God may very well send you someone else wit the same problems or worse because He means for you to overcome this.
You may be on a job that you have found to be a burden because the supervisor seems to be a jerk and the co-workers are full of worldly confusion. You have asked the Lord to give you a new job time and time again, but it just hasnít come through; you have put in, it seems like, a million applications, but nothing has come through. The answer is ďDeal with itĒ. ďDeal with the people that you are faced with right now because I placed them in your pathway and you in theirs for a reason.Ē
To be successful in that job, youíve got to be successful in your primary source of the living, the job you were created to fulfill, and that is to be a servant for God. If you are saved and your supervisor and co-workers arenít, it is your God-given duty to draw them, at least a little bit, before you depart from them. If you havenít left something with them that God has given you, you have failed; and, when you do get another job, God will probably put you back in a company with the same kind of people or worse because He will make sure that you fulfill the mission He has set you out on.
You may be wondering how God expects you to deal with people you know are lying on you and doing everything they can to make your way hard and to make you lose your job: they are lazy, and the supervisor keeps pushing off their work on you; they always get the promotions, raises and praises, but you get nothing but a hard time. How can I deal with these people?
How can God deal with you taking credit for who you are, where you are, and what you have? How can God deal with you when you sit down on His job all of the time making excuses about not coming in? How can He continue giving me chances without firing me? How can He continue working with me and not give up on you? No, why? Because He wants you to make it into heaven. God desires for you to make it into heaven; so, He puts up with your slothfulness; He puts up with the little commitment and dedication; He puts up with you making people think that you got you where you are today. God doesnít want your soul to be lost; therefore, He deals with you and all of your problems, your shortcomings, your faults, and your failures.
There are some things that you may have to just deal with; God is refusing to remove you from the situation or the situation from you because you havenít accomplished your mission or overcome the fact that it hinders you, bothers you, and makes you weak and vulnerable to sin. You have to deal with that unsaved, disobedient, drunken, angry, hateful, incompassionate, drug addicted, unfaithful, lying, cheating, inconsiderate, staying out all night, staying in and out of jail, spouse until you learn how to live with him without cursing him, fighting him, criticizing him, putting him down, treating him as if heís nothing, trying to chastise him and change him, and stop putting him out every time you get mad. Until you are able to look at him as a soul that needs to be saved, just as God looks at you, you have to deal with him. Until you learn how to accept his apologies and forgive without bringing it up every single time that you get mad, he will continue to deceive you and lie to you.
Disobedient child? Until you can love him in spite of who, what, and how he is, he will continue to be that disobedience child. Until you can stop calling him no-good, good-for-nothing, stupid, ignorant, lazy, and trouble, he will continue to be all of that. We do some stupid things, but God doesnít call us stupid; He has mercy on us. We disobey God all of the time, but He doesnít put us out of His will; so, why would you put your child out Ė push him into the world to be devoured and destroyed by the enemy? God keeps us within the hedges of His protection, and we should do the same for our children.
Until you can begin to be appreciative for just having a job although it may not be all peaches and cream and happy honky-dory, you will continue to have problems on your job; you will continue to put in applications with no leads or answers. Until you stop getting mad at your co-workers and supervisor and doing evil for evil, they will continue to work against you.
When you deal with a situation, you must deal with it the right way: with Godís strength and power. You cannot do it alone. There is no way possible that your spouse will go out and continuously commit adultery, and you forgive him without getting mad throwing it in his face without the power and strength of God. There is no way possible you can see someone working against you, and you not retaliate without the strength and power of God.
Paul was able to deal with that thorn because He learned to lean and depend on God. Deal with it, but deal with it through God.