No one wants to feel weak and no one wants to feel broken but when Paul speaks of this in 2 Corinthians 12 he is speaking of God’s ability to work through such things.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 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.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
For a period of time Paul was under a great deal of pain pleading to the Lord to remove his affliction, until he realized that God’s power is magnified and multiplied in human weakness. His very weakness became a means for God to use to unleash an unstoppable and massive power house of energy.
Formerly Saul and converted to Paul after the Damascus encounter, he heavily relied on His scholarly learning and reputation as a Pharisee. He had what men viewed as “greatness”
Yes he had credintials, he had applause, he from a world point of view he had it made and had it all.
However in the later years of his life as he sat in a dungeon he wrote this to the church of Philippi:
Philippians 3:4-9 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
He at the end of his years considered everything as rubbish compared to his relationship with Jesus Christ. And this right standing we have from God “depends on faith” and we know this intellectually often but do we really let it sink deep in? Do we truly believe God has already dealt with our past sins and present failings once and for all? Do we acknowledge the fact we are a “new creation” (see 2 Corinthians 5:17) in Christ? And he times we do fall into sin are the times we revert back to human effort, self energy, and old habits.
Indeed no one will be or has ever been justified by the law, but what matters is if we have become the “new creation” (see Galatians 6:15)
The bible says the “heart is deceitful and wicked above all things” according to Jeremiah 17:9 but lets bear in mind that old heart is a part of the “old man” and he is the “old nature” he was of the first Adam and not the risen Christ, we do not have to live in the sinful nature as Christians however since we have bee freed from that.
Peter tells us:
2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
Now if God has dealt with our sins at the cross when we received his Son Jesus Christ than the pain we go through is not punishment but polishing us for the master’s use as one polishes prized china or silverware. The greatest impact and power come through blood, sweat, and tears of Paul’s life.
In Acts after Saul’s conversion to Paul, God said this about Paul:
Acts 9:15-16 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
Look closely for it says “For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” And this is after Paul was born anew in Chist and his sins were covered under the blood. Why then did Paul have to “suffer”?
It wasn’t punishment but rather preparation to change the world!