How’s your weather today? It’s bright and sunny here. Birds chirp. Bees buzz. Sounds like a warm day, right? It is now, but early this morning it called for long pants, long sleeves, and a light jacket!
Appearance isn’t always reality.
Aren’t we like that sometimes? We smile and laugh–all blue skies and golden sunshine. But our reality? It’s a downpour of fear, worry, and anger that only washes away our trust and peace.
Hmmm… Should that really be our reality as followers of Christ?
Let’s consider Paul’s reality as given in his 2nd Corinthians 11:23-28 “resume”:
~ Servant of Christ Jesus ~
- Imprisoned repeatedly
- Shipwrecked 3 times
- Adrift in the sea 1 day/night
- Flogged numerous times
- Lashed 39 times on 5 occassions
- Beaten with rods 3 times
- Stoned 1 time
- In danger from robbers, countrymen, and unfaithful friends
- In pain and without sleep
- Hungry and thirsty
- Cold and in rags
- Given a “thorn in the flesh” to foster humility
- Concern for the church
- Concern for the sake of Christ
As close as I come to Paul’s trials is being seasick once on a cruise ship. Lord, have mercy! My trials are nothing compared to Paul’s, so you’d think it would be easy for me to maintain his aim. Yet, am I continually concerned about the spiritual health of the church and my fellow Christians? Am I content in my circumstances and more concerned about others and the glory of Christ?
Paul wanted something, too. He wanted that thorn in the flesh, thought an eye problem, to be removed. He asked God for its removal three times and all three times God said no. In 2nd Corinthians 12, Paul records God’s words as,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.“
Paul submits to God, saying,
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 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.“
Paul’s trust in Christ gave him a perspective that focused beyond his present circumstances. He realized when he had nothing, he had everything–he had Christ.
As we face our trials, may we also trust in Christ and be strong in Him. That will bring real peace, and–in the midst of storms–a bright, sunny day in our souls.