The longer I walk with God, the more I learn that God does things His way…the best way…and instead of trying to figure it all out, I invest my time in gleaning the lessons He is teaching me at that moment.
I find myself in a very interesting moment in my life. Knowing that God has led me away from the people and the ministry my heart beat for. NOT knowing what the next step is. I find myself in Wylie Texas, where I witnessed a hail storm of apocalyptic proportion! Hail the size of softballs! Then I attended a church that’s building was badly damaged by this storm and hear a message that penetrated my heart and challenged me to reassess what I “think” I know. I have taken it and added some thoughts in hopes that it will challenge you.
We have all heard these: “God helps those that help themselves,” “When God closes a door He opens a Window,” and the famous, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
Now we know what is meant by these when they are shared, but in retrospect I can see where we need to tread more carefully so that we do not miss the Truth that God intends for us, when we are in circumstances that seem so overwhelming. For example, let’s take that last statement; “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” God does not promise that – here is what He has promised:
* 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
God does not promise NOT to give you more than you handle – but not allow you to be TEMPTED beyond what you can handle. The fact is that much of what life throws at us is beyond what we can handle…on our own! The whole point of God’s promise is tied to connection with Him. If, when we are kicked in the face by life, we try to deal with it on our own, we find ourselves turning to these kinds of answers: drugs or alcohol, new sensual experiences, trading in of old spouse for a new one, having a baby, pursuing fame, money or power, suicide…the list could go on. God’s plan is that when a trial hits us between the eyes, IF we turn to Him, the storm will never be able to push us beyond what we can handle, because the One handling the storm WITH us is the Sovereign of the universe! NOTHING gets past Him and He will guide each step for us through the storm!
I will share one of the points that I heard on Sunday, and then finish the next Devo, first the context:
* 2 Corinthians 12:1–6 Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses. For if I do wish to boast I will not be foolish, for I will be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me.
The trial Paul was enduring is, for me the worst kind. I expect to be attacked by the world, but when it is coming from my own family in Christ…that is overwhelming! There were those in the Church at Corinth that were challenging Paul’s call as an apostle. However, notice the lessons Paul was learning.
* 2 Corinthians 12:7–17 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Let’s look at one today and 3 more another time.
v. 7 for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!
Interestingly, God did not name what the “thorn” was, and I agree with the speaker that shared this, most likely it was so we cannot dismiss it! If we knew specifically what Paul struggled with, we could say, “That’s not me” and miss the whole point.
From the day we are born our flesh craves and we are taught self-dependence! If we remain on that path all it will accomplish is a prideful spirit. That will not serve us well in our walk with God.
* Proverbs 11:2 Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
* Proverbs 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.
* 1 John 2:16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
God will use “life” to humble you. Why? To help us understand the “Real War.”
* Galatians 5:17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
When we comprehend our war is in the invisible realm, it is spiritual, not physical, we will run immediately to the Father of all spirits, our God, seeking His power to enable us to stand. The Scripture is replete with statements that point out that the way “uP” is begun in humility! Here are just 3:
* Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility.
* Proverbs 18:12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, But humility goes before honor.
* Proverbs 22:4 The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches, honor and life.
When God brings us to the end of our own strength, we are now in the position to see the path through the storm!
* 1 Peter 5:6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.
Meditation: Are there “hail storms” in your life? How are you handling them? Are you, alone trying to handle them? What does that show you? Do you believe God is willing to join you in that journey through the storm? Will you let Him?