Overwhelming. Depression. Dread. Fear. Sometimes we experience difficult situations like job loss, financial distress, sickness, or a sick child, so how do we avoid the negative feelings when faced with difficult situations? During these times, our faith needs to be strong. How do we put muscle in our faith? It’s not easy. You’ve heard: no pain, no gain? It applies to our faith too. The book Cast Up A Highway references Paul’s handicap and what it teaches us:
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then He told me, “My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” Once 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. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Message)
In this verse, Paul is speaking to the church at Corinth. . . . he is sharing with the people his revelation about how suffering and testings can be a gift. You are amazing Lord! You love us enough to give us the opportunity to get stronger by trials and sufferings, and you explain what You are doing and why. Christ’s strength moves in to fill the void left by my weakness. Thus, coupled with Christ’s strength I become supernaturally strong.
This verse blesses us with answers to two of our “Why” questions:
As a teen our daughter was complaining about how hard something was; her Daddy said, “no one said it was gonna be easy”. She responded with feeling, “Well no one said it was gonna be this hard either!” Our spiritual life can draw those comments too. Some believe that once I become a Christian, life will be floating on a cloud. Sorry friend, it just ain’t so. We are designed to go from strength to strength. How could we get stronger without challenges? How could our relationship with our God become deeper in intimacy, if we never had to rely on Him for anything? or never had to question “why?”. Yes, we all go through opposition, and though God is not the originator of it, He will use it for our benefit if we allow.
Is the reward worth the struggle?