I once heard the question, “What one thing, if it got better, would make the greatest difference in your life?” The answer is often the thing that brings us to our knees more than any other issue in our lives at that moment. The answer may be different when we are 21 years old, or 55, or older. But there will always be something in our lives that is the most painful, whether it is physical, mental or emotional. 

Looking back over the last several decades, my answer to that question has shifted from middle school concerns, to my 29-year-old self losing my wonderful dad to pancreatic cancer, to my 36-year-old self wondering why I kept having miscarriages, to my 50-year-old self navigating a company through a pandemic. 

We tend to blame all bad things on the devil, yet God uses the most painful inflictions for His purposes. The very thing that brings us to our knees is also the thing that causes the most growth. We wish it away, and yet it is often what catapults us into a new and deeper level of knowing Him. There is the knowing Him through reading and hearing about Him, and then there is the KNOWING Him on our knees, through our desperate cries. One is head knowledge. The other is true heart knowledge gained through experience. 

In the Bible, Paul pleaded with God to remove his “thorn”—the one thing that, if it got better, would make the greatest difference in his life. Yet it was not removed. Not because of Paul’s sin or lack of faith. God chose to allow it to stay and showcase His surpassing grace. 

His power shines brightest in our greatest weakness. 

The next time you are driven to your knees and crying out for God to change your circumstances, whisper a prayer of gratitude for the Grace that empowers you to walk through it with a peace that passes all understanding.