Wednesday, February 06, 2013

February 6, 2013 … The Black Hole of Faith

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 37

Passage of the Day: 2ND Corinthians 12: 9 [in the context verses 9-10] [NLT] …  
“My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

Passage of the Day: 2ND Corinthians 12: 9-10 [AMP] …  
9 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! 10 So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength)

Contextual Study of today’s passage: 2nd Corinthians 12: 1-10 [NLT] … Go to this link

Reference Passage #1: 1st Kings 19: 19-21 : [NLT] … {Elisha’s black hole experience.} …  
19 So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. 20 Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, “First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!”… Elijah replied, “Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.” … 21 So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant. 

My Journal for Today: This morning for my journaling I’ve stolen Os Hillman’s title for this entry, … The Black Hole. I think we all are somewhat familiar with the concept of a “black hole” astronomically these days. [See photo above]  According to Wikipedia, a black hole in space “… is a region of space time from which gravity prevents anything, including light, from escaping. … It is called "black" because it absorbs all the light that hits the horizon, reflecting nothing. …” But Os Hillman uses a slightly different, historical picture to explain what he calls a spiritual black hole.

He refers his readers to that time when John Glen, our first astronaut, was returning earth on his first space flight and there was that period of a few moments of audio “blackness” when mission control lost audio contact with Glen as he re-entered our atmosphere. It seemed like an eternity; but Glen made it through that “black hole” of silence with the heat shields on the space capsule; and he was delivered to come back to earth safely.

 And Hillman used that illustration to remind us that we all likely have experienced “black holes” spiritually in our lives, … i.e., times when we seemed to lose contact with God, … when the Holy Spirit seemed incommunicado, … and when The Lord seemed to have disappeared into some “black hole” of silence. And can I sense some of you reading here saying, “Yeah, … been there; got that T-shirt!” I sure have been there.

And so was the Apostle Paul in today’s highlight passage. And if you go back and remember or take in the passage in 2nd Cor. 12: 1-10, linked for you above, you’ll read how Paul had come down from a Spiritual mountain-top experience, having been given a vision of heaven, to find himself wallowing in a “black-hole” of physical and/or emotional pain, experiencing some kind of “thorn,” from which he prayed and prayed for deliverance; but God seemed to disappear for Paul into some “back hole” of deliverance. And then Paul remembered the words Jesus had told him at some time in his past (i.e, verse 9) … that God’s grace was sufficient for all situations/circumstances. And Paul came to realize that the “black hole” of silence He was encountering with God was to let Paul realize that he (Paul) needed that silence to show him the humility needed to receive God’s enabling/empowering grace.

Elisha also was shown a related lesson when he was called by Elijah to come and be a disciple of Elijah’s in witness of obedience to God’s call on Elisha’s life. In the reference passage, copied above, 1st Kings 19: 19-21, Elisha realized that when God calls, the Lord may have us – in faith – enter a “black hole” of commitment and surrender to God’s will, following His way, … not necessarily the clear lighted path we might have looked for in following our God. It’s God’s “black hole” of faith and trust.

Perhaps you are in one of those black holes of faith-testing right now; and you may feel that God is testing your “heat shield” of protection.  Perhaps like Paul the heat shield of your faith is being burned by some physical malady from which you don’t know how long you will have to humbly trust in God’s grace. Perhaps you’ve had some calling into a “black hole” of obedience; and like Elisha, you just don’t know where you’ll see the light of clear guidance in the future. But, whatever “black hole” of challenge you are in, we must trust and cling to the truth that God’s grace is [ALWAYS] sufficient for our weakness; and He (according to 1st Cor. 10: 13 and Hebrews 13: 5) will never allow us to enter any black hole of life challenge where He will not be there and where He not will bring us through to the other side safely – even if that side is on the other side of glory.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I do trust that Your grace is sufficient to bring me through any “black hole” of weakness or challenge in my life. … Amen

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