This Thing

I would be lying if I said that 2009 was an easy year. 

God ended the year with profound proof of His faithfulness…the birth of our beautiful daughter, Sarah, on December 30.  She’s healthy and whole and wonderful. 

Still, the months leading up to that moment were difficult and confusing and overwhelming.

I think that we, as believers, often think that being with Jesus is the safest place to be…that we should somehow be exempt from disappointments and devastation.  One of my favorite books, Not a Safe God, by Tim Riter addresses some of the more difficult teachings of Jesus.  I love this quote…

We’ve made God comfortable. But if we take Him seriously, He’ll overturn our current lifestyles.

We want a comfortable God, don’t we?  We want to be followers of Christ, but still enjoy a life of ease and personal freedom.  We are offended when trials come our way.

Unfortunately, life is just that way…filled with trials, hardships and disappointments.

I love the writing and teaching of Paul.  He just seems to have had it all together.

I’ve been reading in 2 Corinthians and am in awe of all that he endured for the cause of Christ.  He seems almost…superhuman…

He endured beatings, stoning, shipwrecks, robbers, deceitful brethren…and on and on.  Yet, the part that touched me…

in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often…  – 2 Corinthians 11:27

Paul felt weary…tired.  He had nights…often…where sleep was elusive.  And, with all that he endured for the cause of Christ, there was something…something that he pleaded with the Lord to remove.  Yet, the Lord did not.  If anyone was deserving of having a prayer answered…surely it was he. 

That is the flaw in our logic, however…that anyone is deserving of anything good. 

Concerning this thing…those are Paul’s words.  He pleaded with the Lord for mercy…pleaded  with the Lord to remove this thorn in the flesh…this thing that caused him pain.  I’m certain that we could, without giving it a second thought, name our thorn in the flesh.  We all have something that has proved to be a source of pain…something that we have begged the Lord to remove…or to give…or to change.  I know that I could quite easily name mine.

Yet, I have been forced to ask myself many times in recent months…What if the Lord never provides that specific thing?  He didn’t for Paul.  Paul was told that the grace of the Lord was sufficient. 

I am enough.  That is what I have continually heard God whisper in my ear.  To be honest, at times, it has infuriated me.  At times, it has comforted me. 

Concerning this thing, I have pleaded with the Lord…And He has said to me…I am enough.

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4 thoughts on “This Thing

  1. Thank you for this awesome reminder! As a matter of fact, there IS something I have repeatedly prayed about, and I do need to look at it as my thorn. I need to serve with it and in spite of it, not wait until it’s removal to serve.

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  2. Congrats on your new little one… I am so happy for you. :o)

    I understand where you are coming from, and share your frustration with many of our own circumstances. It’s hard to separate God from what we would do in a given situation. I hate for my children to suffer, and would remove whatever was causing it if I could. But the Lord sees the bigger picture and allows our suffering for our greater good. It’s so hard to walk through our trials, and even harder to remember God’s love and His promise to never forsake us when we are suffering. But He does, and He is, and God is still good.

    I am finally at the point that I am determined to love Him, whatever may come. I am not yet, however, at the point that I have the endurance to sustain this determination throughout the lengthy tribulations I am presently undergoing. It’s a work in progress, and a painful one.

    hugs…

    And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:6

    The LORD will perfect that which concerns me: your mercy, O LORD, endures for ever: forsake not the works of your own hands. Psm. 138:8

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  3. How I wish we were taking Daniel together! The last video session was on Rack, Shack, & Benny, and how it is going THROUGH the fire that refines us and makes our faith stronger. This past year hasn’t been fun for either one of us, but I can see your faith growing stronger, and I hope mine is doing the same.

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