I taught my full day on Wednesday. Our morning chapel sermon was based on this scripture reference:
2 Corinthians 12:10
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
“Paul’s Vision and His Thorn
1 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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.”
Now, I certainly haven’t been given any “great revelations” that I should be conceited about, but I recognize that when the pathway towards heaven gets pretty smooth, the devil seems to start plotting out some road obstructions. God allows this, according to Paul’s words, to keep us humble–to keep our eyes fixed on Him.
Like Paul, we may long for that smooth pathway again and ask God, “WHY?” God will speak to us through His Word, and the answer is what he told Paul: “My grace is enough. It’s all that you need. Besides, when you are weak my perfect power shines.”
Can we “boast” about our weaknesses, though? Can we honestly be glad for them??? Personally, I find this hard to do.
I feel pretty weak lately–emotionally, even physically (I’ve been trying to fight off a cold from coming on for over a week). I find that this happens right after I’ve felt my relationship to God be restored and strengthened–when I’ve gone through something, been humbled, asked for forgiveness, feel my shame lifted and am “right” with Him again, and then I rejoice and praise Him. The devil find a pin prick, gets the tip of his hook in, and digs and claws his way back in to rattle my security again. Soon, I’m confused. My response to that which comes up is impatience–edginess.
Right now, the weakness in me that the devil is manipulating seems to be my wondering how I am to best serve God. I feel my heart calling me to give, give, give to my family–fully. Then, I get a phone call: we desperately need a substitute teacher. Right now. Then I get another student in my teaching load. Then I get asked to take the services on a weekend that no one else has been able to fill. And, I cry out in frustration, “What do you want from me, Lord? Why isn’t it enough for me to just be “mom”? What are you trying to show me?”
I honestly don’t know what He’s trying to show me, but I do know that He promises to equip us to do His work–whatever that may be in our own lives. I do know that He wants me to trust Him and not worry. I do know that He wants me to rejoice and praise Him, even when I’m wondering what’s to come.
It’s not easy to do all the things well that come with being a mom while working outside of the home, helping out friends, volunteering at school, and serving the church, but I’m certain that God sees inside my heart and knows what kind of attitude is there when I’m doing those things. I know that in His power and grace he can make great things happen through my feeble, fumbling efforts.
Letting go of the fact that our minds can’t fathom His vast wisdom and reasoning for what we go through is difficult…but it’s part of the process of trust. I don’t have to know why I got asked to substitute teach on my three “off” days and therefore will be teaching each day of the week, when I’m feeling depleted and just wanted time with my Little One, but I do know that SOMEONE has to teach and that I wouldn’t have been asked if they felt that someone else was available. So, I just have to trust that God is controlling this and will work it out for our eternal good.
Forgive me when I waiver, Lord. Forgive me for my frustrations and my lack of trust. Thank you for having already done so. May my actions today stem from joy and trust in your promises.