Second Corinthians 12:9–10, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
There are counselors today and pastors today who would say to Paul at this point, “You’re in denial. Stop putting on that fake Christian face. Get real. Get angry with God. He’s hurting you. Learn from the Old Testament what a good, godly complaint looks like.”
“We love the miracle of sovereign grace in a suffering life.”
If there is anything that you have taken away from being at Bethlehem College & Seminary for these years, I hope one of them is: we hate fake because Jesus hates hypocrisy. But we love something more than we hate fake. We love the miracle of sovereign grace in a suffering life — called serious joy. We love that. It’s rare. Paul responds to this God-given thorn in 2 Corinthians 12:9–10 with two of the strongest Christian Hedonistic words in the Bible.
“I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses” — hēdista — the superlative of hēdeōs, from which we get “hedonism.”
“I am content with weaknesses” — eudokeō — the same word God used when he said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
You can’t get more pleased than being pleased by God in his Son. That’s a big word — a big, big, emotional, joyful word for a response to a thorn. Crazy. Fake, if you’ve never tasted it. So, Paul is praying, “Father, if I may have greater revelations of your glory, if I may be protected from conceit through the pain of this thorn, for the shaming of Satan’s weakness, for the glory of Christ, I will be most glad and content.”
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