Friday, August 27, 2010

Everyday battles of life—in weakness & strength

She walked into my office early one morning. She said, “Did you hear?” I said, “Yes.” What did I hear? I heard that her husband lost his job again; the division in which he worked was being relocated to Mexico.

About two years ago, her husband held a union job with a prestigious Minneapolis company. They downsized and the 50 year old computer specialist was out of a job. It took one year to find another job. The wage was about 60% of the previous job with minimum benefits. He was now without work again.

The wife was angry and disgusted. She said they feel weak and vulnerable. They admittedly have lived “high on the hog” as it were when life was rolling along. Now things are different, making “ends meet” the ends are not meeting anymore. She asked, “Why does this keep happening to us?”

In 2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul was given a thorn in the flesh, some painful aggravation. Who brought it on? Satan? No, Satan doesn’t rule our lives but God permits him to bring trials into our life to teach us what we need to learn. It hurts but God intends it for our good. God rules each though what he allows may hurt.

Why did Paul get a thorn in the flesh? To keep him from becoming conceited. In 2 Corinthians 12:7 it says: “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”

God had showed him things about heaven and a paradise that words could not describe. Second Corinthians 12:1-6 says “I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the LORD. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know--God knows. And I know that this man--whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows-- was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say. Paul may have thought he was pretty “hot stuff” but God’s plan was to keep him humble and useful. Thus God allowed the thorn in the flesh.

I see many people hurting today. Hebrews 12:10-12 says: “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.”

We must pray to be healed. We must not go through these trials as limping victims but be strengthen and healed by God looking at future with hope and purpose.

Oh Lord, this day we pray for your healing and peace in the lives of people suffering weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, difficulties. Even though they are weak, make them strong. Strengthen our drooping arms and feeble knees. Revive our spirit this day; grant us these things if it is your will. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

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