Victors through our suffering
Sometimes Paul suffered. At times the thorn in his flesh hit him hard. True to his nature Paul sort of revolted and tackled God about this. And true to His nature God explained to Paul how it worked. God also said to Paul that He was sufficient for him. Paul grasped the bigger picture with gratitude and made peace with the thorns and the hardship that he had to carry with him.
But Paul not only made peace with it, it also became his strength. Now the fact that he sometimes had to drag along this heavy burden gave him energy and courage to keep on going and not to give up. Listen to his beautiful testimony: 10Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
Do you suffer? Do you wonder what the bigger picture looks like? Do you also sometimes wonder where God is? God is busy with a plan for your life. No, I’m not saying He is the one putting obstacles in your way. Many of the things we face are, as they say, self-inflicted. Some are caused by others. Where some come from we’ll never understand. However, God uses these circumstances to work on us in the process. Eventually, it becomes a strength in our lives not only to the benefit of God’s Kingdom, but for ourselves too.
Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you. Maybe you can’t see how the circumstances in which you find yourself at the moment can ever help someone, but instead, you should try to see the bigger picture like Paul did – and if you see nothing, ask God to show you that picture.
It’s not always easy to walk around with a smile on your face when life is pushing at you from all sides. And it’s not always easy to hang onto your faith in the struggle between life and death. But God knows. We can take it directly to Him, because it is there where life has brought us down that God’s power rises up. Many times we have to stop, let everything go and say: Lord, I think this is a good time for You to come and reveal your power, because I’m done. I’m tired, I can’t go on.
If I understand the scripture and the example of Paul correctly, this is the time when God enters in all his power. Then the negative turns into a positive.
Yes, the negative won’t simply disappear into thin air, but we know that God will use it to honour Him. People will be different, because God will work powerfully through us and our hardship.
May it be so.
Are you suffering?
Do you also wonder what the bigger picture looks like?
Do you sometimes also wonder where God is?
Lord, this piece wasn’t so easy, because what I actually want is for the hurt and suffering simply to disappear. Lord, I can’t go on. Please come with your power and be strong, because I’m too tired and hurt and weak. Amen