Were The Prayers Of President Garfield A Failure? by T. De Witt Talmage

T. DeWitt Talmage

II Corinthians, 12: 8, 9: " I besought the Lord thrice that
it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace
is sufficient for thee."

There was something the matter with Paul in the
text. He spoke of something that irritated him, or
annoyed him or hurt him or mortified him, under
the figure of a "thorn in the flesh." Some think it was
a crooked back. Others think it was a stuttering
tongue. More persons think, and among them the
learned Kitto and Dr. John Brown, the Scotch essay-
ist, that it was diseased eyes, amounting almost to
total blindness. They think this because he almost
always wrote by the hand of an amanuensis, once men-
tioning it as a rare occurrence that he had written a
large letter with his own hand; and they think this
also because he was always accompanied wherever he
went, although he was much of the time a poor man
and could not have paid attendants; and also because
he seems to refer to his trouble with his eyes when, in
describing the enthusiastic love of the Galatians he
says: "ye would have plucked out your own eyes and
have given them to me." In other words, "you love
me so much you would have been willing to trade off
your good eyes for my poor eyes." Those lands al-
ways have been afflicted with ophthalmia, and dam-
aged eyesight was as common there and then as good
eyesight here and now. But whatever may have
been the trouble, Paul prayed to have it cured. I
suppose he prayed hundreds of times on this matter,
but he made three agonizing prayers. Did God an-
swer those prayers? He did, by giving something
better than Paul asked for. Not by straightening the
back, or by unloosing the tongue, or by curing the
disordered eyesight, but by giving him grace to turn
into glorious advantage that which had been an irri-
tating detriment. Instead of curing the physical mis-
fortune, he sanctified that trouble until Paul became
the ...

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