Though his request was not granted, the Lord saw to it, not only that he should be comforted, but that all that was needed by way of explanation should be made known to him. There was both the preventive side of the trouble and the empowering side. Not only did he learn that it was inflicted lest he should be exalted overmuch through the greatness of the revelations he had received, but he also learned gladly to glory in his weaknesses, that the power of Christ might rest upon him.
Let us note, too, the abiding effort which the gracious word of the Lord had upon him. He records it not as a mere historical incident, but as something the comfort of which he had felt ever since, and was still enjoying. "He hath said (not 'He said') unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9). The consequence was that he could say, "When I am weak, then am I strong." That was the outcome of Satan's buffeting.
The hindrance became a help. Satan's messenger became the Lord's minister. Many and many a servant of God has been similarly tried. How blessed the comfort of this record of Paul's experience! And how wonderful will be the revelation, in the coming Day, of God's dealings with us in our service here below!
~T. Austin Sparks~