walk in the word
Last week we looked at praying for God’s will in the midst of our thorns. This week we look at finding God in our weakness.
Many people treat life like a game of cosmic dodge ball. Do you know what I am talking about? The ball, is suffering. And people go jumping through life like, “Whew! Missed that one.” Whenever something hard comes along, they leap out of the way like the worst thing that could possibly happen to them is to be hit by some hardship. They spend their whole lives trying to avoid anything that will hurt. What a weak way to live!
Paul was tuned into the fact that there is a better kind of life—a deeper life, a quality life, a life that is more fulfilling. It eclipses by far the “everything-is-okay, I-dodged-another-one” kind of life. It is not about avoiding every kind of pain. Rather, it is about finding God faithful and powerful in the midst of whatever thorns He allows.
Notice what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” In other words, “When I see a hard thing coming, I do not jump out of the way. I might not have chosen this for myself, but I want to see Christ work in my life powerfully.’” So, despite the negative part, there is this incredible God-thing that starts happening. That is because God never allows a thorn but that He provides sufficient grace to overcome it.
Do you see the sequence? God is everywhere, but sometimes we miss Him because of our pride. So God allows a thorn into our lives. We’re like, “Take it away.” But He’s says, “No.” What He does do, though, is give us sufficient grace. If we will receive that, something begins to happen where we participate in this deeper level of existence—this human pleasure of finding God in our weakness.
This is the essence of it all. Paul looks at his thorns and rejoices in them—not in some perverted way, as though he desired the hardship itself, but rather because he desired what the hardship was accomplishing in his life. He says in verse 10, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” It is the hard times and the health times and the hurting times that reveal my weakness. And that is when God shows up.
You say, “I want to find God in my weakness.” Let me tell you how to do that. It is as simple as A. T. T.
A. Admit your weakness. You say, “But I hate doing that.” Right, and that is why you have the thorn. Admit your weakness continuously and constantly: “God, I cannot do this. God, I do not have the strength to be a Christian.” This is the moment your thorn was designed to produce.
T. Thank God for your thorn—not for the thorn itself, but for what it is accomplishing in your life. That is a powerful moment. There are things that can go on in your life that you never dreamed possible, if you are able to embrace the hardship that God has allowed.
T. Trust God. Speak out words of faith and say, “God, I trust You in this. I do not have all the answers; I do not have all the why’s figured out. But I am choosing to trust You.
Malcolm Muggeridge once said, “Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful, with particular satisfaction. Indeed . . . everything I have learned in my seventy-five years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained. In other words, if it ever were to be possible to eliminate affliction from our earthly existence . . . the result would not be to make life delectable, but to make it too banal and trivial to be endurable.”
So stop playing cosmic dodge ball. Let your suffering achieve its God-given purpose, and you will find God in it.
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