Our son is currently in basic training for military service to our country. We are incredibly proud of him and want him to succeed in all of his training areas.
This week he starts training in the field.
It’s spring in Texas and that means storms and flooding usually. Last week was particularly active with thunderstorms, flooding and a few tornadoes. On the lighter end of the weather spectrum is oppressive humidity & heat. I hate trying to sleep outside in a tent when it’s hot, muggy & buggy, so I started to pray for him.
I was going to ask the Lord to bless he and his fellow recruits with beautiful, mild weather, so they would have an easier time of it, but I stopped without uttering the words.
These young men and women need to be prepared to function in adverse conditions. Fair weather is not a fair challenge of their endurance & ability to adapt. Almost anyone can do their best when conditions are favorable, but our world is not set up that way. We do our children (and ourselves) a disservice when we want the world to change to make our life easier.
One of my favorite lines from The Princess Bride is spoken by Wesley to Princess Buttercup, when he is facing her as his alter-ego, The Dread Pirate Roberts:
“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
Do I want my son safe & unharmed? Absolutely. Do I want he or other recruits to suffer abuse from superiors or fellow enlistees? Absolutely not! But there is a difference between difficulty and abuse. Those who survive and thrive are those who don’t give up when times get tough. For Christians, we have the assurance that God will pour out as much grace as we need to meet whatever challenge we face:
James 4:6 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
6 But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it).
The Apostle Paul was like any one of us. He got tired and he got fed up.
God had blessed Paul with incredible revelation of Jesus, in all of His many facets of glory. God gave Paul gifts of miracles & healings through the power of the Holy Spirit, as confirmation of Paul’s preaching. Many people came to Christ through the ministry of this mighty man of God.
And Satan didn’t like it. So he came up with a plan to try to stop Paul’s work. Paul describes what he was dealing with in 2 Corinthians 12:7-8:
“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. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.”
Almost everywhere Paul preached, riots broke out. People threatened him, had him arrested, or tried to kill him. If it were me, I would be pleading with God, too: HELP! MAKE IT STOP!
But the Lord didn’t take this particular thorn in the flesh away. He simply answered Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 a
Paul came to a place of rest in Christ where he simply trusted God to provide what he needed, when he needed it, as his words attest:
“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.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 b – 10
Perhaps what you need right now is not a perfect life, but God’s perfect grace. He is for you and longs to show Himself strong through you, and on your behalf. All you have to do is ask & believe.