The handwritten prayer request was heartbreaking in its seeming impossibility: “Please pray—I have multiple sclerosis, weak muscles, trouble swallowing, increased pain, diminishing sight.” The woman’s body was breaking down, and I could sense despair in her plea for intercession.

But then came the hope—the strength that trumps the physical damage and degradation: “I know our blessed Savior is in full control. His will is of utmost importance to me.”

This person may have needed my prayers, but I needed something she had: unabated confidence in God. She seemed to present a perfect portrait of the truth God taught Paul when he asked for relief from his difficulty—what he called his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7). His quest for relief turned out to be not just a seeming impossibility; his request was turned down flat by his heavenly Father. Paul’s continual struggle, which was clearly God’s will, was a valuable lesson: Through his weakness, God’s grace could be displayed and God’s strength was “made perfect” (v.9).

As we pour out our hearts to God, let’s be even more concerned with seeking His will than we are with receiving the answer we want. That’s where the grace and the strength come from.