2 Corinthians 11-13
Sunday, June 25
Have you ever felt on top of the world because everything was going your way and there wasn’t a problem in sight? I felt like this quite a bit when I was younger because all of my needs were met and I just didn’t have very many hardships. Life seemed easy. I have fond memories of my youth and I thank God for the way he blessed me back then. However, when times are good, it is easy to forget that we still need to rely on God. When all of our needs are met without even thinking about them, it is easy to lose track of who is taking care of those needs for us. When life is sailing smoothly, it is hard to remember how much we need God because we think we can take care of ourselves.
I’m sure some of you can relate to this, but there are probably many others that grew up with much more difficult lives than I had. I can also say that real problems did eventually find me and life doesn’t seem nearly as easy as it used to be. I don’t think God causes all of the problems in my life, but he obviously allows the difficulties to occur. Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Have you ever wondered why God would let you get a bad cold right before a big exam? Why would He let you get in a car accident and break a leg? Why would He let you lose your job when He knows you have a family to feed? Why would he let someone steal your phone? Why would he let your house burn down? It is easy to question how much God cares about you when your life is full of problems.
Paul could have definitely questioned if God was on his side or not. In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul listed his hardships: imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death, received 39 lashes from the Jews five times, beaten three times with rods, stoned once, shipwrecked three times, a night and day he spent in the deep, frequent journeys in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from his countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren, labor and hardship, many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure, and the daily pressure on him of concern for all of the churches. Why would God allow Paul’s life to be so ridiculously difficult??? This is Paul we are talking about here! He was an extremely important piece in God’s plan to spread the gospel, yet God let all of these bad things happen to him.
Paul was also given a thorn in his flesh to keep him from exalting himself. He prayed three times to have it removed, but the answer to his prayers was probably not what he expected. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Paul responded by saying he would rather boast about his weaknesses so that the power of Christ would dwell in him. He actually said he was content with weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake because when he was weak, he was strong. This seems to make no sense at all, until you dig a little deeper.
When life is good, we tend to depend on ourselves more. When life gets tough, we realize we aren’t as capable as we thought. When life gets really tough, we can give up and throw ourselves a pity party or we can reach out to the most powerful being in the universe and ask Him for grace and a whole lot of power. Remember, “Power is perfected in weakness.” However, we need to come to the realization that the power is not our own power; it is POWER from God. So be content in your weaknesses and all of the difficulties life will throw at you like Paul was so you can experience what true power feels like. Ask God to fill you with His power and you will see that none of your problems are too big for God to handle. Power can be perfected during the tough times you are experiencing.
(Photo Credit: https://www.primobibleverses.com/topic/II%20Corinthians%2011)