At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. (Mark 7:35)

PASTOR DAVID GRAVES is almost completely deaf. He wears hearing aids, and with the assistance of the wireless microphone, he’s able to pick up bits and pieces of what people say. At a recent healing service he was leading, he reminded those seeking deliverance from various emotional and physical ailments that God delivers in many ways—but not always in the way we wish. Like the apostle Paul, Pastor Dave has asked God more than once to deliver him from his “thorn in the flesh.” Instead, he has seen how the power of God is made perfect in this particular weakness.

Jesus healed many people during His ministry. The deaf were able to hear, the mute were able to speak, the blind could see. All of these added supernatural credibility to the divine authority with which He spoke. But Jesus also rebuked those who just wanted to see a sign, or more bread, or some entertaining demonstration of His divine power. Not everyone received what he or she desired.

Sometimes God does not heal, even with our impassioned pleas. But He does promise to never leave us or forsake us, no matter how difficult our circumstances or deep our pain. Sometimes it is enough to believe that God has a reason behind everything He does—and everything He allows—even though we never discover those reasons this side of heaven.

Identify your own “thorn in the flesh.” How has God used that tribulation to shape you?

Doug Schmidt is a freelance writer and editor and is on staff with his church as a small-groups coach.