I’ve got issues. As a matter of fact, I’ve shared “the list” below before. I’d like to say I’ve made some strides in some of these areas. In honesty, I think I’ve continued to struggle in others. Let’s just say I totally understand when Paul talked about his “thorn.” In our instagram/facebook social media driven world, it’s easy to create a perfect life. But this life is anything but perfect. At times it’s downright ugly. To review, here’s my list –
I show a smile and die on the inside.
I want to show no signs of failure but am rarely anything but
My internal thoughts are dark, depressing and often rude
I have a really hard time with forgiveness and saying “I’m sorry”
I bury bitterness, anger, doubt and fear so deep that when it surfaces it’s much worse
I live in fear of so many things, at times I lose grip with reality
I’m broken and damaged
I have a past that haunts me
I fear being irrelevant
I have addictions that are like bondage that won’t release me from their grips
I wrestle with and sometimes lose faith
I’m afraid you’ll forget me when I’m gone.
Paul only mentioned having one “thorn.” Apparently I’ve got a few more than he did. But this is why Good Friday was so important to my story. I don’t know who will read this, but maybe Good Friday was important to your story too. You ready?
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Hold up. Back up the truck. You mean I am supposed to be GLAD about my weaknesses? It actually says that I should boast gladly about them? That is some crazy talk. That is the kind of crazy talk I need some help understanding. So I look to a resource which has become like a manual for me over the years. The book is “In The Grip of Grace” and the author is Max Lucado. Max writes –
You wonder why God doesn’t remove temptation from your life? If he did, you might lean on your own strength instead of his grace. A few stumbles might be what you need to convince you: His grace is sufficient for your sin.
You wonder why God doesn’t remove the enemies in your life? Perhaps because he wants you to love like he loves. Anyone can love a friend, but only a few can love an enemy. So what if you aren’t everyone’s hero? His grace is sufficient for your self-image.
You wonder why God doesn’t alter your personality? You, like Paul, are a bit rough around the edges? Say things you later regret or do things you later question? Why doesn’t God make you more like him? He is. He’s just not finished yet. Until he is, his grace is sufficient to overcome your flaws.
You wonder why God doesn’t heal you? He has healed you. If you are in Christ, you have a perfected soul now and a perfected body. His plan is to give you the soul now and the body when you get home. He may choose to heal parts of your body before heaven. But if he doesn’t, don’t you still have reason for gratitude? If he never gave you more than eternal life, could you ask for more that that? His grace is sufficient for gratitude.
For all we don’t know about thorns, we can be sure of this. God would prefer we have an occasional limp than a perpetual strut. And if it takes a thorn for him to make his point, he loves you enough to not pluck it out.
God has every right to say no to us. We have every reason to say thanks to him. The parachute is strong, and the landing will be safe. His grace is sufficient.
I don’t know what your thoughts were when your feet hit the floor this morning. Maybe you leaned over and picked up your “list” and put it on your shoulders to carry again for another day. Maybe you’re struggling with the “why” and the “when” too. Know that the events that took place on Good Friday are significant to your story too. Your list, your struggles, your battles all are a part of your story. When it comes to grace and your story….
His grace is sufficient for you.