"Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times 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.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
I love this passage. I'm so glad that Paul wrote about his thorn. I would never ever wish someone to suffer but when I hear that others have suffered in the same way as me I find comfort in knowing I'm not the only one. Have you ever felt that way?
I am convinced that much of my thorn (anxiety & fear) comes from life circumstances. However, I definitely have a genetic predisposition to it. It runs in my family. My mom and brother also suffer with this debilitating thorn.
It's hard enough just being human but adding a heap of difficult circumstances on top of an already struggling individual seems cruel.
Life can be cruel.
That is at the heart of my fear problem. You see, I've gotten that phone call that brings you to your knees. I know what it feels like to wake up one day with everything being normal and go to bed that same night with my whole world crumbling around me. In fact, I've had this happen to me more than once, more than twice....I've lost count by now.
So my question to God has been,
How do I become strong enough to overcome this?
How do I go about life as if these scary moments never happened? How do I not become paranoid that disaster is lurking around every corner?
I've asked this question over and over. I would love for Jesus to step in and take my fear away. I want Him to be my knight in shining armor (HE IS!!) but it never looks the way I think it should. I want Jesus to make me strong because I hate being weak. I despise it. I see these strong women around me and I am so jealous. I say to God, "See her! I want to be like her!"
And God lovingly tells me,
"I don't need another 'her'."
He whispers to me,
"Delight in your weakness, because that is when I show you My strength."
But the problem is, I hate my weakness! I want to hide my weakness. I am ashamed of it. I don't want people knowing I don't have it all together. But in hiding my weakness, it becomes more of a stronghold around me and it makes God seem small in my distorted human perspective.
Today, all that changes because today I choose to delight in my weakness. Today, I proclaim that God is not small. What Satan has intended to harm me, I will allow God to use for good.
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20
So I now ask myself different questions.
What if I was "strong"?
How would that change my perspective? Would I be deceived into thinking I didn't need Jesus at all? Would I even care if His name was made known? Would I still have a passion to reach the brokenhearted? Would I be able to sit across from someone who's hurting and lost and not judge them?
Through these questions my perspective becomes more clear...
"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners," Isaiah 61:1
This is a prophecy about Jesus. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and to set captives free. As a part of the Church (the Body of Christ), I am given the mission of being the hands and feet of Jesus. My job is not to be strong for the brokenhearted, my job is to love the brokenhearted and comfort them with the same comfort that has been given to me.
"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."
2 Corinthians 1:4
That's it. And that is what I will do even if it means I must make less of myself.
"He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30
If you are brokenhearted, please know you're not alone. I've been brokenhearted too. Please let me pray for you. Let's rest in the arms of Jesus and let Him be strong for us.
"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28