So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NLT)
I don’t like to struggle.
I don’t like to be uncomfortable.
And I definitely don’t like being insulted.
However, these verses have helped me to realize that if my life was always hunky-dory, then I would really never have reason to rely on God.
Our Pastor has often said, “The Bible doesn’t say we should rejoice because of our circumstances but that we can rejoice in them.” I have to remind myself of this when life isn’t going according to my plan. I don’t have to give thanks for troubles, but I do need to learn from them. Every challenge we face is an opportunity for growth. When I choose to wallow in self-pity, I’m wasting the chance to strengthen my faith, increase my endurance and deepen my reliance on God.
Speaking from lots of experience on this issue, I know how incredibly difficult it can be to find joy when a loved one is sick, the debt collectors have you on speed dial or your marriage is on a slippery slope. How can anyone expect you to be joyful when your life is a wreck, right?
You can rejoice right where you are, no matter how bad it seems, because God has promised to never leave you nor forsake you.
You can celebrate because He has said the battle is not yours but his and that you have already been given the victory.
You can hold your head high with a smile on your face because His word assures us that he who began this good work in us will not relent until it is finished.
So as hard as it may be, shift your focus from your struggles and thank God for the character he is building in you. Think of it as if you were an athlete in training…by the time God is done working on you and me, our strength and endurance will rival that of the elite.