How to deal with unpleasant things the Lord allows to come our way? Some of those things are downright painful! Others seem unfair! Others we try to chalk up to no more than the kind of circumstances that seem to happen to just about everyone who lives on planet earth and breathes air! (But God is supposed to be in charge of everything… Right?!)
Admit it… its not easy to deal with the unpleasant things that God allows to come our way! … I think back and to my regret, when it’s happened to me, I’ve been guilty of complaining, questioning, and sometimes just a generally bad attitude! And if the painful, distasteful circumstances were to be viewed as “a test” of my “godliness” and “grace” I’m not sure I got a very good grade! How well have you done?
Apostle Paul had faced plenty of negative stuff in his service for Jesus… I read a catalog of what he faced just yesterday during “coffee with the Lord” and thought to myself, “Wow, that seems more than what one person should be expected to handle!” (Read it for yourself in 2 Corinthians 11:23b-30)
But Paul, as a devoted servant of the Lord, had experienced some powerful and wonderful things as well… “visions and revelations of the Lord… he had been caught into the third heaven… and heard things to wonderful to be told!” (2 Corinthians 12:1-4)
But back to the negative… In his own words, “To keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,” he said “a ‘thorn’ was given me in the flesh – a messenger of Satan to harass me to keep me from becoming conceited.” He went on to admit, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me!” (12:7-8)
So did the Lord remove it (whatever it was)?
Here, in Paul’s own words, is what God said to him: “But the Lord said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness!’” (12:9a)
So how did Paul deal with it – how did he respond? He said, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me! For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities… For when I am weak, then I am strong!” (12:9b-10)
Oh, Apostle Paul, may your response in unpleasant situations and circumstances instruct me! May I hear and learn from you… That God’s grace (God’s enablement and provision) is sufficient! That the godliness of my character is more important to God than my comfort! That in unpleasant and painful situations, God’s power can rest upon me and enable me! That In my weakness His strength can actually blossom! Oh Lord, may these things be true in my life when You allow unpleasant circumstances to come my way!H