Monday, September 20, 2010

Can Losing be Best?

2 Cor. 12:7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 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.

For most of my life I have wanted to win. It didn't really matter how small the item was, I could make myself play/work much harder if I could convince myself I was wining. For example; I like to can all kinds of things because it seems like when you're done that you've got away with something; like you're "cheating" in some way because now you don't have to pay for that.

But now that I have been through probably, and hopefully, more than half my earthly life I am finding that I am really not "winning" much these days and may not "win" much in the future. The economic signs are less than promising, business for PG is congruent with that and that has been the measure of much of my previous success; if business is good, I am "good".

These verses are a good reminder to me that this is exactly where I am supposed to be in God's economy. Paul, seemingly, had the same issue as many of us; the tendency to think more highly of himself than he ought, and it seems like at least a portion of that came from success in his endeavors. God had placed him in those situations of success, so he clearly was doing what God had planned for him, but there was a tendency to boast in those same victories. His greatest strengths was also his weaknesses.

When he asked the Lord 3 times to remove whatever was his thorn in the flesh and God left it there as a reminder that he was weak and since God left it there Paul would have to rely much more on Christ with it there than if it were gone. I guess I can relate to that better now. Maybe I am closer to that place in my own life than I want to admit. If being weak forces me to admit that I'm am losing, I am not so excited to do that humanly speaking.

But, with Paul, I must also say spiritually, that if being weak keeps me in the right place spiritually, then I want to "boast" in my weakness, because now I can say that this is where God wants me to be, even though it is hard and scary. I told Jim Martin, more than a year ago, that as hard as it is, I don't necessarily want to get out of the hard times because they are the same things that have brought me closest to Christ.

So, as I am awake at much too early in the morning, because I am not sleeping too well thinking about what might be coming, I am at least excited to watch God work all this weakness out into the open so He can be made glorious as my own weakness is displayed. This is not where I would put myself if I were Him, but where I am content to be because I am not Him and I know that He will give only what is best.

This also is a good reminder that maybe the state of weakness and "losing" is going to be where I am for a long time; maybe even until I go Home, and I have to learn to be content in that. In "Morning and Evening" the other day, Spurgeon gave this idea and I paraphrase; It is also a great comfort to know that since He has me right here, He provides the strength for me to go Through each and every trial, not to get out of them. He allows the thorn to stay, but in each little poking of the thorn there is also the reminder that He gives the perfect amount of grace to endure that same poking.

Please pray that I would remember these things and be continually praising Him for the trials that He allows, even though they are hard. I need to figure out sooner, rather than later, that this is where I am going to be probably for quite a while and maybe I should quit praying that God would take me out of this place. The answer to the post heading I think is, "yes, if God is most glorified".

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