Thought for the Week - 3rd May
2 Corinthians 12: 7-10
“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited,
I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’’
Here we read Paul asking God to remove some circumstance that had been placed into his life. Paul had gone through a huge amount, spent years in the wilderness and had a lot more to boast about than we could, but he was humble. But as humble as he was, God still wanted to keep him from becoming proud, placing some difficult situation into his life in order to do so. God is in control, and it is easy to forget in these times that He has brought us to this place. He brings about circumstances into our lives in order to deal with us. When this happens, we can have many reactions to it. Maybe we feel like we can’t cope at all, maybe we see ourselves as copers, and feel like we are holding it all together, presenting to the world: we’re in control.
I recently heard a well-known actor say that all of us have a vulnerability at the heart of us, which we put up a smokescreen to hide. I think there’s a lot of truth in this and I think we often try to take control of our own circumstances when we feel that vulnerability come to the surface. God often brings about situations in our lives so that we see our vulnerabilities. Perhaps we rely on ourselves, or rely too much on others. Whether we feel right now that we can’t cope at all, or that we have it all under control, actually, both can come from pride, a self-reliance.
Paul was much more equipped to deal with these things than us, yet he asked God to take away the circumstance brought into his life. God’s response was not to remove it, but to show Paul that His grace was enough, His strength perfected in weakness. It is when we realise that we have nothing of ourselves to offer, when we throw ourselves on Jesus Christ, saying ‘’Lord I need your strength, I need you to do this for me’’, it is in this place we are made strong. It was in that place of weakness that Paul was made strong. It is at the point when we are not trying to sort it all out ourselves, that God can use us, come close to us, and we learn the deeps and secrets of Jesus Christ. When we are weak, we take strength from Jesus, because the shadow of the Almighty is over us, there is no place for pride or what we can do, we are protected and safe in His power.
In Isaiah 51:1-3, God speaks to us in how to find Him in these difficult times: ‘’Look to the rock from which you were hewn’’… this is telling you to look to where you have come from, to remember all that God has done for you and how you found Him. It is easy to forget what God has done for us. It is easy to forget in the midst of difficulty that God never fails us, never has, and never will. ‘’Look to Abraham your father, And to Sarah who bore you’’… Look to your spiritual inheritance, the covering and inheritance you have as part of the body of Christ. Being separated and at home does not change this. Read the promises made to Abraham, they are promises made to you also. Remember where you came from, your spiritual fathers and mothers, God was with them right back to Abraham, and He is with you.
So much can feel like a wilderness right now, maybe you feel as though you are in a spiritual desert, in which you can’t see a way out. God says… ‘’He will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden.’’ God wants to do this for every one of us, and in the middle of our circumstance, when we are brought to our weakest point, when we can’t do anymore, He meets us the closest. When you give yourself to God, rely on Him, He brings you into a much richer place. You are not here by accident, God brought you to this place, that you would learn to find in the depths and quiet of your heart, that close relationship with Jesus Christ, your personal Saviour and friend.
“My situation is urgent and I cannot see how I will ever be delivered. Yet this is not my concern, for He who made the promise will find a way to keep it. My part is simply to obey His commands, not to direct His ways. I am His servant, not His advisor.’’ (Charles Spurgeon)
Turn yourself to Christ in your circumstances in your weakness be made strong.