Monday, May 28, 2012

Can God Trust You?

2 Corinthians 12:1-- This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. 3 Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know 4 that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.

5 That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. 6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 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.

In the sermon at United Wesleyan on Sunday morning, I was bringing out the fact that the Apostle Paul was leaning on God to give him strength to make up for his weakness. In the end, Paul said: "When I am weak then I am strong."

However, during this time of proclaiming the Word of God, I started wondering if it is possible that God could not trust the Apostle Paul to remain humble and to continue doing "Kingdom" work in a pain free, blessed and trouble free environment?

Paul did say in verse 7 "so to keep me from becoming PROUD, I was given a thorn in my flesh."
So, this is saying that even with the great Apostle's commitment to the gospel of Christ, God still felt the best way to get more from him was to keep him! This could explain many of my "thorns."

Paul said in verse 8: "I begged the Lord 3 different times to take it away and each time he said: My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness"

So, my point is this: We know that God wants good things for us, but more than that, God wants us to bring glory to His Son, Jesus Christ. So, at least in Paul's life, it is indicated that the best way for God to receive glory from him was to keep him in a weak and dependent state.
Could God not trust Paul to be pain free, burden free or having all his dreams come true? Perhaps then Paul would take his eye off of the prize? Maybe he wouldn't be as focused because good things tend to take our time and becomes our priority?

One last thought: Could it be that we work the best when we are fighting against an obstacle or going against the grain? Perhaps this is how God gets the best from us....

A writer expressed this idea about weakness: "Let your weakness be what it will; one of the strangest paradoxes and, at the same time, one of the most encouraging facts in human life is that your weakness can be your greatest asset. Men, like kites and airplanes, rise against and not with the wind."

So, this week, if you are finding that your pain and obstacles are not going away, perhaps you, like the Apostle Paul work better for the Kingdom when you are weak, because then you are forced to depend on God for strength.

What are your thoughts?

Peace and joy to you today!