Jul 8, 2012

In Times of Weakness

Let us then fearlessly, confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. Hebrews 4:16

In times of weakness do you depend on God, obey Him and seek strength to overcome? Or do you make excuses and turn from His leading? Vulnerabilities can drive you closer to God or blind you to His love.

Are your circumstances weighing you down? Do you feel trapped in your present situation? If so, you may be searching for a way out of your suffering. You may be vainly trying to find relief and solace in the flawed solutions of this world. Yet as we learn from the apostle Paul, God is the only solution to our struggles.

For years, Paul struggled with what he called "a thorn in my flesh" (2 Corinthians 12:7). Many have theorized about what it might have been, but no one knows for sure what Paul faced. We do, however, know that it was mentally and physically exhausting for Paul. Perhaps because we aren't certain what it was, we can relate more to Paul's struggle as we compare it to our own.

In the midst of his pain and suffering, Jesus spoke directly to Paul, reassuring him of His watchcare.

"Three times," says Paul, "I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness'" (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).

Few of us like to think of ourselves as being weak. We like to think of ourselves as self-sufficient, even in our spirituality. We think we need to be strong in our Christian walk, so when sorrow comes, we strike out against it. When faced with discouragement, we draw back in fear. In the face of disappointments, we become angry, wondering if God has forgotten us. But HE HASN'T, and HE WON'T.

God didn't forget nor dismiss Paul's thorn, and He won't overlook ours. He uses life's stresses - physical and emotional - to draw us closer to Him. He can speak to us and show us how and where His grace is most efficient.

God could've eliminated Paul's struggle in a moment. But He knew that Paul would receive the greater blessing and the greater lesson by learning to rely on God's perfect strength through his difficulties. God knew that His grace wouldn't manifest or shine in a strong and self-sufficient person like it would in a person who suffered in weakness.

Do you find yourself stretched to the breaking point today? Even if you believe "I can't take another day of this. I just need to leave, to escape, to begin again," - you CAN'T outrun God. When you're faced with hardship, you need to run toward Him, not away from His love.

Some people, even Christians, have been running from God their whole lives. When the storms of life come, instead of leaning on the everlasting arms of Christ, they choose to run to false shelters, attempting to escape His reach. In the Psalms, King David had a realization about the wonder of God's grace and forgiveness, rather than running.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10

Without a doubt, you can know that no matter what life menaces you with, God will pull you to safety if you call on Him. He is the One that can save you from certain defeat and give you the hope you need.

Panic and anxiety are no match for God's grace. He goes before us into life's battles. The victory is ours, though it does not come through our efforts or strength. It comes from His hands and His grace. No one is more committed to our success than Christ.

No matter what you face, God's grace IS sufficient. His power is revealed and made perfect through your weakness. Never be ashamed to cry out to the Lord. He listens for you and will come to you, fulfilling the promise of His matchless, perfect grace.

Don't be ashamed, embarrassed, or too prideful to come to Christ ... He's waiting for you.

God is the ONLY solution to our struggles.

Father, help us to come to You in time of need, without fear of rejection or judgment. We need Your grace to carry us through. Help us to come boldly to You, Abba Father ... and there I know You'll wrap Your loving, heavenly arms around us and give us strength and grace to go on. Comsume us with Your presence and Your peace. In Jesus' name, amen.

see also: Turn to God