...in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Thoughts for Today:The most common question people ask of me is, "Why does God let these things happen to me?" My answer is always the same, "Because this is not heaven." As a result, every one of us will to run into "difficulties" from time to time. There are no exceptions.
When we run into challenges, it isn't wrong to pray and ask the Lord to remove a thorn from our bodies or our lives; and it's not inappropriate to share with Him the frustrations, concern and worries we experience. In fact, we are instructed to do so - repeatedly. (1 Thessalonians 5:16: "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.") However, life is not an elementary school playground where safety is promoted and protected, and insults and hurts are addressed and corrected. Wouldn't it be nice if it were? Yet, many people treat God as if he were simply a super-sized recess monitor. They report to Him through their prayers, "She's saying unkind things about me; he pushed me down; she pulled my hair; and he stole my lunch money." If any of us expect all of our wrongs to be righted or problems and infirmities to be corrected -- we will be regularly disappointed. When we finally realize - for us to live is Christ, and to die is gain - then our lives will indeed become truly meaningful and much more enjoyable.
We are in these bodies and on this earth for such a short time in comparison to eternity. And we're going to have thorns in the flesh whether we like it or not. Although we cannot forget that God is as much interested in our present comfort as He is in our eternal destination (and our spiritual progress), we must also remember to trust Him when He says, "This thorn is necessary for you to grow closer to Me, make an even greater commitment in ministry, and become more completely dependent upon me."
Questions to Ponder:I think the Bible is pretty clear on the subject of prayer. We are to pray unceasingly on any subject that is troubling us until we are satisfied we have an answer. Just remember it may not be the answer we seek. It may take three thousand times, three million, or like Paul just three times. However, we must keep praying until our prayers are answered or we have the peace, understanding and revelation that comes when we can faithfully say, "My concern is a closed issue. I don't need to seek relief or talk about it anymore. Your grace is sufficient." At which point are you in your prayer life? Do you have your answer even though you don't like it?