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What if God wants to keep you weak? What if that struggle you’ve been having for years continues on for several more—because God wants it to?

God is not unkind. He is never unloving. He has not forgotten you. So if your struggle goes on and on, even though you’ve prayed, fought, and believed, then God must have a purpose for your weakness.

Sometimes we are plagued with weakness to keep us from being puffed up with pride. This is exactly what Paul concluded by saying that God had kept his infirmity in place “to keep me from becoming conceited” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Paul came to a place of higher recognition, able to appreciate the benefits of suffering.

We love deliverance stories, of people breaking free from longstanding debilitation—whether by disease, addiction, or other forms of brokenness. We celebrate God’s grace through the actions of souls set free.

But can we not also see the grace of God active in people standing to fight, day after day, year after year? How beautiful it is to know that there are those among us who, like Job, mingle tears of pain with weeping for joy, groans of agony with shouts of praise.

God is still good when He says no. His is never a no of indifference, but a no of inducement—not a quick deliverance from struggle, but an abiding grace of power. He has something better for you.

When you say yes to God’s no, you’re recognizing that He sees things that you do not, and that He is doing a better work in you than you can imagine.

So to keep me from becoming conceited
because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,
a thorn was given me in the flesh,
a messenger of Satan to harass me,
to keep me from becoming conceited.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this,
that it should leave me.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:7–9 ESV)