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Skip Heitzig: The Lord Knows How To Perfectly Balance Blessings And Buffetings—and He Will Allow Both

Skip Heitzig

When a group of troublemakers began to stir up division in the church Paul founded at Corinth, he wrote to the church to defend his apostolic authority. In his epistle, he revealed a fourteen-year secret: an incredible experience where he was caught up into the third heaven. He concluded, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure” (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Understand this. The Lord knows how to perfectly balance blessings and buffetings in your life—and He will allow both. In fact, He will prescribe both. I know you want all the blessings and none of the buffetings, but the Lord wants you to be mature. He knows the perfect combinations of blessings and buffetings, and Paul received many of both.

Notice the phrase “was given to me.” The Greek tense used here translates to “was given to me by God.” God allowed it to happen. Like Job in the Old Testament, Paul had two agents at work in his life: Satan and God. Satan wanted to destroy his faith, but God wanted to develop his faith through the hardship He allowed Satan to inflict.

God is sovereign enough to control what He allows in your life. So learn how to use spiritual warfare to fight the Devil, and find out why God is allowing hardship to develop your faith.

Romans 8:28 says, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God”—all things, including temptations and the Devil’s attacks. The correct combination of harmful elements can benefit you. Sodium and chlorine are both poisons, but mixed in just the right way, they make sodium chloride, or table salt, a flavor enhancer. God knows how to bring the flavors out in your life by adding blessings and buffetings.

What was Paul’s thorn in the flesh? Nobody knows. Some believe it was a problem with his eyes. It had to be something formidable, annoying, and always there. But we don’t know, and I like it that way. Since it’s ambiguous, we can all apply it to whatever thorn in the flesh we’re suffering from.

In verse 8, he said, “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.” That’s typically what we do when we have a thorn: we pray it’ll go away. As western Christians, we think, I would serve the Lord better if only certain things were changed in my life. That’s not how God thinks. If your thorn caused you to lean harder on Him, would He want to remove something that made you to cry out to Him and trust Him? So, maybe God won’t remove it. He didn’t with Paul.

Verse 9 is the answer: “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'” That wasn’t the answer Paul was looking for. He prayed three times, but the answer was no. He continued, “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” (vv. 9-10).

I’m humbled by Paul. I don’t know that I’ve gotten to the place where I say, “This is so hard, but bring it on, Lord.” But I’d like to get there. Yes, it’s hard in the moment—but let’s thank Him for our thorns and glory in them, that the power of Christ would rest upon us and drive us closer to Him. Let’s take pleasure in these things, because behind them is a good God who knows how to make the perfect balance.


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Skip Heitzig

When a group of troublemakers began to stir up division in the church Paul founded at Corinth, he wrote to the church to defend his apostolic authority. In his epistle, he revealed a fourteen-year secret: an incredible experience where he was caught up into the third heaven. He concluded, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure” (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Understand this. The Lord knows how to perfectly balance blessings and buffetings in your life—and He will allow both. In fact, He will prescribe both. I know you want all the blessings and none of the buffetings, but the Lord wants you to be mature. He knows the perfect combinations of blessings and buffetings, and Paul received many of both.

Notice the phrase “was given to me.” The Greek tense used here translates to “was given to me by God.” God allowed it to happen. Like Job in the Old Testament, Paul had two agents at work in his life: Satan and God. Satan wanted to destroy his faith, but God wanted to develop his faith through the hardship He allowed Satan to inflict.

God is sovereign enough to control what He allows in your life. So learn how to use spiritual warfare to fight the Devil, and find out why God is allowing hardship to develop your faith.

Romans 8:28 says, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God”—all things, including temptations and the Devil’s attacks. The correct combination of harmful elements can benefit you. Sodium and chlorine are both poisons, but mixed in just the right way, they make sodium chloride, or table salt, a flavor enhancer. God knows how to bring the flavors out in your life by adding blessings and buffetings.

What was Paul’s thorn in the flesh? Nobody knows. Some believe it was a problem with his eyes. It had to be something formidable, annoying, and always there. But we don’t know, and I like it that way. Since it’s ambiguous, we can all apply it to whatever thorn in the flesh we’re suffering from.

In verse 8, he said, “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.” That’s typically what we do when we have a thorn: we pray it’ll go away. As western Christians, we think, I would serve the Lord better if only certain things were changed in my life. That’s not how God thinks. If your thorn caused you to lean harder on Him, would He want to remove something that made you to cry out to Him and trust Him? So, maybe God won’t remove it. He didn’t with Paul.

Verse 9 is the answer: “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'” That wasn’t the answer Paul was looking for. He prayed three times, but the answer was no. He continued, “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” (vv. 9-10).

I’m humbled by Paul. I don’t know that I’ve gotten to the place where I say, “This is so hard, but bring it on, Lord.” But I’d like to get there. Yes, it’s hard in the moment—but let’s thank Him for our thorns and glory in them, that the power of Christ would rest upon us and drive us closer to Him. Let’s take pleasure in these things, because behind them is a good God who knows how to make the perfect balance.