Sunday, October 2, 2016

When Will It Be Enough

When Will It Be Enough
October 3, 2016
2 Corinthians 12:9  "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

There are quite a few stories in the Bible that don't need retold for you to remember what happened.  Daniel in the lion's den is pretty famous, Noah and the ark is quite memorable, and the serpent in the Garden of Eden needs little reminding.  Another famous story you know much about is Paul's thorn in his flesh.  You instantly should remember the Apostle Paul prayed for the Lord to remove Paul's difficulty, but the Lord did not coalesce.  The Lord simply replied to Paul that His grace was sufficient for Paul, without the removal of the difficulty.  The expanded version of the story is not much more detailed then that.  You have the full essence of the story, and the punch line in almost one complete sentence.  But I would submit to you that the meaning is possibly lost on most of you reading this.

There is so much more to the story, however, that was never quite captured in Scripture.  Paul, upon hearing the Lord's response, had to submit to the Lord's decision.  After the Lord told Paul that grace should be enough to carry him through, Scripture record's Paul's response.  Paul said that he would boast in his own weakness, then, so the Lord's power would rest upon him.  It is quite a response, yet still does not paint the full picture.  There is a small story in between the Lord boasting in His grace for Paul and Paul deciding to boast in his own weakness.  The untold part of the story is how Paul had to wrestle and submit to the Lord's response to him, the Lord telling Paul that the Lord would not be removing the thorn in Paul's flesh, the Lord's denial to answer Paul's prayer request.  Essentially, that is what the Lord did; He denied Paul's prayer request and waited until Paul could submit to the denial.  The Scriptures only tell Paul's eventual response of boasting in his own weakness, but never discusses the emotions Paul had to wrestle with in order to submit to the Lord's denial.

Paul had to submit to the Lord's response to the situation, laying down what he wanted, how he thought the situation should be resolved, and stand strong in the Lord's design for his life.  Paul's story was a success and he accepted the Lord's response.  Paul didn't stop serving the Lord.  Paul didn't try to remove the difficulty by himself without the Lord's help.  Paul didn't become bitter or resentful by the difficulty.  Paul submitted to the Lord's grace for the situation and it was enough for Paul.  My question to you is when will the Lord's grace be enough for you?  When will it be enough for you to rest in the Lord's strength and stand firm that the answer you think you desire may not be forthcoming?  The Bible doesn't say how long Paul had to wrestle and submit to the Lord's design; it sums it up neatly in a few sentences.  I doubt Paul was as perfect and succinct in his wrestling with it as Scripture suggests.  The Bible wraps it up in two sentences but Paul had to come to grips that the difficulty, for now, was not going to be removed in the immediate future.  Have you come to the same conclusion in life as Paul?

You, Christian, are facing this same trial; you've asked the Lord to remove the problem and difficulty.  You don't see the Lord's answer forthcoming, and instead of submitting to the Lord's grace, you've decided to move forward in your own human effort to change the situation.  You don't want to rest in His grace, you want your answer they way you want your answer.  You don't want to trust in the Lord's sovereignty, you want to grasp at every straw possible until your fingernails are bleeding.  You don't want the Lord's grace, you want to be right and justified and vindicated over the difficulty.  But by denying the Lord's grace for you, by not submitting to the Lord's design and plan, you are creating more difficulty than the situation already presents.  In an effort to fight the difficulty, you end up hurting yourself even more.  When will the Lord's grace be enough for you?  When will you submit and accept that right here and right now is where God has you and wants you?  The more you fight it, the more it will hurt.  Yet the more you submit, the more successful you will be in navigating your difficulty.  It doesn't make sense to the logical mind, but you must trust in the Lord's sovereignty.  Accept His grace for you r situation today and see that it actually gets easier.

The Lord's response was enough for Paul.  When will it be enough for you?  Incidentally, re-read Paul's response when he accepts the Lord's answer.  He said that Christ's power came upon him.  I bet you could use some of Christ's power right now.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Es 4:14, Pr 3:5-6, Is 55:8-9, Rm 8:28 

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