Passage for Study: 2nd Corinthians 12: 1 – 10 … Linked for study …
My Journal for Today: Today, as I (we) close out on the teachings from this passage, I really identify with what Chuck Swindoll has written, which is a very vulnerable discourse on his own failings with regard to dealing with tribulation. In his devotional for today, he openly admits that he’s not the best model for handling trials; and that is me, too. My default in the midst of trials is the pity party; and Swindoll admits to a few of those himself.
He writes that it’s one thing to use Saul, who became Paul, as our model for finding strength in the midst of human weakness; but when it comes to living up to what we read in today’s passage, he says that he – and I say that I – all too often have trouble internalizing and living the truth that God’s grace is sufficient for us to receive and use God’s strength in the midst of our own weaknesses.
Yes, Paul got it; and he taught this in a number of passages in Scripture added to this one in 2nd Cor. 12. There was that oft quoted verse from Phil. 4: 13; and you may be thinking about the closing section of Romans 8. Yes, Paul got it; and he lived it, going through horrible trials and writing some his most inspiring and hope-filled words from dungeons or while imprisoned.
But it’s one thing to read Paul’s inspiring – and very truthful – exhortations that “God’s grace is sufficient.” However, when one has lost a child, or another is quadriplegic from an accident, or we’ve just learned that the prognosis is terminal cancer, our humanly makes it very difficult to live by pursuing, receiving, and using God’s grace in the midst of such trials. But that, my friend, is exactly what we need to do.
So, … how do we do it? Well, I propose that it’s now, when there is little pain in one’s life and when things are in a relative comfort-zone, that we need to prepare ourselves for future maladies when our weaknesses will be exposed. We have to decide NOW that we believe and cling to the truth of our passage today. We have to declare and make a covenant with God’s word that we’re going to live out Phil. 4: 13 even if we’re feeling weakened for any reason. And I suggest that you make that covenant NOW with some close Christian friend, … maybe your spouse. Declare with that loved one that you’re going to expect that accountability partner to come to you, when you’re in the midst of a pity party, and remind you of this time when you both made a mutual covenant to use God’s truth, such as that in today’s passage, to lift the other one up with the encouragement that comes from God’s truth. And you need to agree TOGETHER to be there for the other one, listening to his or her pain, hugging them when they are down hearted, and staying with them through those tough times, helping them to see that God’s grace is truly sufficient for any of life’s trials.
I pray that you have someone like that in your life, my friend. Well, go to them ASAP and make a mutual covenant for walking through future suffering together. The investment in such mutual vulnerability and accountability will pay big dividends one day; because, as God’s word teaches, you will experience some suffering of note in your life; and you’re human; … you will be weak. However, above all, know that the truth is … God’s grace is sufficient to give you His strength to cover your weakness.
My Prayer for Today: My Father, … help me to find Your strength when I am feeling weak. Amen