II Corinthians 12:7-9.
The title of the sermon was, “A GOOD PROBLEM”
The title of this sermon poses a serious contradiction because most of us have lived long enough to know that there is nothing good about having problems. However, there are some good problems. Not having any room in your refrigerator to place a a pack of hotdogs is a problem but it is a good problem! Not having any space in your closet to hang a shirt or blouse is a problem but it is a good problem! Having to decide which of the threes cars you own that you want drive to an event is a problem but it is a good problem!
In our text the Apostle Paul had a problem. He describes this problem as a THORN/SPLINTER in his flesh! He does not place a label on this thorn nor does the bible give us any detail concerning Paul’s thorn. However, I believe it was physical in nature because he said it was in his FLESH! Undoubtedly, this un named malady probably caused the Apostle a great deal of pain and discomfort. But after a close examination of the text, I discovered three principles that made the Apostle’s problem a GOOD PROBLEM!
I. It was a good problem because it humbled the Apostle! In that 7th verse the Apostle testifies of the abundance of revelations that he had received from the Lord. One such revelation is recorded in verses 2-5. These revelations put the Apostle in a league al by himself! He was privileged above others! Even though he was privileged above others, the Apostle realized that when God blesses a person, it is easy to get lifted up in pride. You know how it is, when God uses us in a way that he may not use others, it is easy to become arrogant, flippant and lifted up in pride. Can’t tell us anything! And because of this, God will allow problems to come our way not to destroy us but to keep us humble! And there is nothing wrong with being humble! Because if you want to go up in God, you must first be willing to go down! See I Peter 5:6
II. It was a good problem because it forced the Apostle to seek the Lord. It is both good and beneficial for us to seek the Lord. But sometimes we only do it when problems arise. In that 8th verse the Apostle said, “For this thing I sought the Lord three times.” Three is not to be taken literally but it means he sought the Lord on a number of occasions. How many of you have ever had a problem that forced you to pray more than you normally would? Not saying you don’t pray, but problems have a way of making man more conscious of his limitations and weaknesses which in turn drives him to the feet of his creator. That problem might be too big for you, but it is just right for prayer! Prayer is power!!! James 5:16. Elijah prayed and put heaven on a three and a half year strike! Joshua prayed and the sun refused to go to sleep and the moon refused to get up!
III. Finally, it was a good problem because it exposed the Apostle to the power of God! The Lord does not relieve the Apostle of his thorn but he simply tells him, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” The word strength comes from the word dunamis which means POWER! The word perfect does not mean complete or flawless but in this passage it means REVEALED! The Lord was telling the Apostle, MY POWER IS REVEALED IN MAN’S WEAKNESS! And make no mistake God’s power is always revealed when man is at his weakest! It is revealed when are struggling with a multitude of problems! I want to encourage that person who is facing what appears to be a very difficult problem; it is really a good problem. It is a good problem because it is actually an opportunity disguised as a problem! What do you mean preacher? Yes, it is a problem; but it is also God’s opportunity to make his power known to you! Throughout the bible man’s problems have given GOD the opportunity to reveal his power to his people! The children of Israel at the Red Sea. The Ravens feeding Elijah at the Brook Cherith. Jesus feeding the five thousand with two fish and five barley loaves. The raising of Lazarus from the dead. These and others were wrought because of man had a problem that was too big for him to handle! Remember, if there is no problem, there is no need for his power to be revealed! So change your perspective! When faced with problems remember, on the surface it may look bad! But when God is on your side it is a GOOD PROBLEM!!!!