three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. [2 corinthians 12:8]
when we want something so badly, we would do almost anything to get it. but what if it’s something that’s totally out of our control? i’m really relating to paul in this verse, having so many times almost with despair, wished to get relief from pain (miscarriages, betrayal, my own betrayal), or anxious thoughts over something i desperately desired to happen (salvation of my children, emergency situations to stabilize, to hear a heartbeat at a sonogram), but knew there was not a thing i could do to make it happen. not a thing but turn to the one who sovereignly ordained the pain, faithfully caused me to bring it to him, so that i could experience the depth of my helplessness in order to see the fullness of his grace. i think this is exactly what paul is experiencing here.
it’s not wrong to plead with the Lord. but notice there is no demanding of God, no anger toward God, no doubt in God’s power to heal. only helpless pleading in trust that God is good. we see in the next couple of verses complete submission to the answer he receives, but until he receives that answer, he is persistent in the asking. he knows full well that God can bring him instant relief, and he is drawing near to the throne of grace in confidence, that he might receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. [hebrews 4:16] we also have this access to the throne of grace, and God invites us in for help in our time of need, with full confidence that our Great High Priest, Jesus, has made a way for us to enter in. so bring your burdens. he may not answer the way you expect, but he promises to answer the way you need. [romans 8:28]
then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and i will hear you. [jeremiah 29:12]
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [philippians 4:6-7]
o Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning i direct my prayer to you and watch. [psalm 5:3]
watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. [matthew 26:41]
rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. [romans 12:12]
so come into the presence of the Sovereign One. plead with him, then trust. he hears you. he loves you. he is good. and his grace and mercy are endless.