Read: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
The time to study God’s word seeking an answer to a problem in which you are involved, is not while you are in the middle of the problem. Before adversity comes we should be about studying The words and promises of God. As the old folks would say, we need to “send up” our timber way before we get there. In other words planning and preparation is in order before trouble comes and it will come.
God wishes for His children to know Him and how He will react when we have troubles. This is why we have the Bible to study and “show ourselves approved.” Christ tells us before we attempt to build a house we should first sit down and plan for it. The same is true for our troubles. It is true we do not know what form or the nature of our troubles when they come to us. One thing for sure troubles will come. The scriptures gives us basically all of the troubling human scenarios in which we, as Christians and non- Christians alike, can get into. Therefore, we can know what the out- come may be providing we take certain steps and make certain decisions, as laid out by biblical commandments and instructions. This is the reason churches have mid- week prayer and bible study so as to facilitate the child of God in his/her study of God’s word. When our Lord told us to “Be ye also ready” He meant this in more than one way. In short, be prepared for what any and all troubles you know will come to you. Mainly because we have an enemy, who is out to destroy us at every opportunity he has (1 Peter 5:8).
Many Christians fail to study God’s Word as commanded. This could be labeled as laziness or disobedience. God invites us to come and reason together with Him. He is serious in this invitation (Isa 1:18). He wants His children to know Him and become familiar with Him just as an earthly child comes to know his/her earthly father. We should not see God as a stranger. This means study, fast and pray, so as to get oneself prepared to know just how God will interface with you whenever trouble may come. Then you can know God is always there instead of being far away and you are all by yourself in your troubles. The Holy Spirit will help us to be prepared when we have done our preparation and homework for pending trouble. The child of God must not forget there is an enemy wishing to heap trouble upon you.
There will come a time when some Christians will wonder why is it that he or she cannot get rid of a problem in spite of much prayer being said. This may be the case, wherein, one’s patience is not up to par with strong faith. And seems like the more you pray the heavier the trial becomes. And you wonder if God has heard your prayer or if He has turned His back from you. Paul went through a similar situation. Initially he couldn’t figure out what God was doing with Him. Paul had previously been on a healing streak doing God’s work among the people. Also God had recently gifted Paul with a short visit to the third Heaven, God’s domain. This vision, in a sense, blew Paul’s mind, so to speak he couldn’t talk about it (2 Corinthians 12:1-6). Paul knew he had been privileged and blessed to see heaven and still return to earth. This revelation was one of Paul’s rewards from God for being faithful.
Paul’s ego got the best of him and God sought a way to quiet him down and make him humble again so that He could continue to use Paul. Therefore, God gave Paul a “thorn in the flesh” which bothered him deeply. Paul knew God well enough to know why God did this to him. “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelation, a thorn in the flesh (eye trouble) was given to me, a messenger of satan to buffet me, (humble me down) lest I be exalted above measure”(2 Corinthians 12:7). We all have egos and pride, some more than others. Leaders have a strong ego. Often times we, as God’s children, fail to factor in our own ego and pride as being a major part of our enduring trials. Paul knew God well, and knew right away what his problem was - pride /ego, more than what he ought to have as a practicing Christian. One should examine him/herself the very same way, making sure your humbleness is greater than your pride and ego when trials come. When one begins to say, I do not deserve this problem, one then needs to watch their ego and pride.
Paul could heal others but he couldn’t heal himself, even though he prayed to God three times to be relieved of his “thorn in the flesh.” God never did respond to Paul’s healing request. Paul was never healed of his eye problem and he had to endure this affliction for the rest of his life. God didn’t leave Paul alone, nor was He punishing or abandoning him. Paul knew better. God gave Paul strength from another source - His Grace. And God said to Paul, “My Grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” God was personally attending to Paul and gave him the strength to endure “this thorn in the flesh” for the rest of his life. This is how grace works. The Grace of God is not limited to just His kindness, strength, endurance. God’s Grace gives us all of what we may need to keep carrying on in our lives, in spite of the difficulty. Paul concluded, “Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” The child of God should always seek grace in the midst of their trials.
Every child of God should examine his/her life to see whether or not some of their on-going problems may include some of God’s on-going grace which is keeping them afloat, so to speak. If this be the case, just praise Him for His gift of grace! Be patient! Help is on the way.
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