Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Unto The Hills Around Do I Lift Up"1 (Lyrics)
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 – To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (NIV)
Our goat, Lily, has deformed hooves. This is a hereditary condition and has no cure. I just have to keep the very thick, overgrown hooves trimmed back as much as possible. In Lily's case, this problem also caused her feet to become very sensitive, resulting in a severe limp. The issue became so painful that she began kneeling to eat, and in between eating, she simply found a corner and lay down.
The vet recommended soaking her feet in Epsom salts and then spraying the hooves with a medicated solution to rid her of any bacterial infection that she may have picked up. This helped to a small degree, but not enough to alleviate the situation.
As I pondered and prayed about how to proceed, an idea came from a veterinary program that I was viewing. The vet was treating a horse with a specific hoof problem. He advised that they order special boots for the animal to wear until the situation was resolved. Aha! I thought. If they have boots for horses, maybe they have boots for goats.
Sure enough, I found boots for goats through an online livestock supply store.
Today, Lily is walking and running about. She no longer kneels to eat her food and is one of the first ones out of the barn every morning. Now that her feet are protected, her life has been transformed. Though we will never be able to totally remove her pain, the protection of the boots is enough to allow her to live her life with energy and joy once again.
Likewise, people also suffer chronic pain in various forms. It can rear its ugly head physically, mentally, emotionally, or even spiritually. When it does, we find ourselves limping through our days. Our energy is sapped, as is our attitude toward life, for we are wearied and weighed down by our situation.
But, just as God provided me with a covering to protect Lily's painful feet, He has also provided us with a covering for whatever our situation may be. He sees and knows our pain and is concerned, willing, and able to help. Sometimes, complete healing does arrive, but not always. When it doesn't, He provides us with His grace: a covering that grants us the ability to embrace what we have been called to bear with acceptance, peace, courage, strength, and even joy, as we learn to rest in the truth that He is not only able to sustain us and carry us through our thorn with Christlike godliness, but also to use it for good, for His power is made perfect in our weakness.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that Your grace is sufficient for us, no matter what painful situation we may be called to bear. May we, like the apostle Paul, come to realize more and more that when we are weak, then we are strong in You and Your grace. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.