HERE are certain sentiments expressed by the Apostle Paul that are obviously classic, and intensely human. His perspectives feel very familiar. In this chapter, for example, Paul combines quite an admixture of good and bad into one context. Here he mentions his own heavenly visions (although he does at least thinly mask his own identity), but then he follows that up with reflections upon his earthly afflictions as well as his frustrations at the evil that he perceived to be around him.
The spiritual walk is indeed quite the mixed bag. We have the greatest gift imaginable. We are God's children; adopted into His family by His own good grace and mercy. We have the Spirit of Christ in us. We have His full written revelation and a certain promise of eternal bliss. We even have access to an infinite source of holy spiritual power. Yet, our lives are still spattered with frequent temptations, failures, and frustrations. Struggles drag us down and prohibit us from soaring. Paul could have soared. He was an apostle. His journey was a rich one, with many close encounters with God. He was told things that nobody else got to hear; things so wonderful he was not even allowed to write about it. Yet, he wrote, "I will only glory & rejoice because of my infirmities... my limitations, inhibitions and difficulties." Why? Because we are all apt to revel in & relish those few mountain peaks that have been reached, while abhorring & complaining about the many valleys between the peaks.