2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
God will not give us more suffering than we can bear and the reason why we can handle it is merely due to His Grace.
God’s grace is sufficient to help us pull through difficult times, even at times that we may think it is almost impossible to survive or to grind through another day in our lives.
When we are in the moment of suffering, we may seem so weak and overwhelmed by the weight and burden. Yet, we are constantly encouraged by the Bible and Christ to surpass our limitation or boundaries in order to grow; to be stronger in our spirit and faith in the Lord.
Compared to lost or unsaved individuals, we should be grateful to know that God has put us through tough times for a reason, so that He can better us in both faith and character. There is no reason for us to justify our misery with so-called righteous anger or bitterness.
Our bodies and minds are fascinating creations. If we were to combine this gift from God with the spiritual tactics learned from the Bible and apply them in our lives, then our prayer would be so much stronger.
We are taught not to pray to ask God to remove fear and misery from our lives. Instead, we should be praying more specifically to externalize the feeling of worry and fear that we have.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
In our prayers, we may recall times when we faced afflictions and struggles, but there were exceptional moments where we did not get anxious. We can take advantage of those moments by asking ourselves what caused us to be calm and collected at that time, to help us get through what we are currently facing.
In other words, we may also have moments in our lives, that we somehow managed to harness some miraculous strength to help us pull through the tough times. That could easily be the grace of God. Instead of focusing on problems and negativity, we need to focus on bearing fruits of the spirit; joy, love, patience, and faithfulness.
A spiritual analogy to solution therapy, (a non-conventional method of psychotherapy that focuses on solution and positive aspects of life) would be to switch from being fleshy to spiritual. We can learn to identify the strengths that we get throughout the day from walking in the Spirit, such as reading the Bible, fellowshipping with our brethren, singing hymns, or meditating with the Lord in the outdoors.
Pray without ceasing so that we know what is the hope of His calling. When we recall some of the occurrences in our lives when we could easily fall short and sin, it is God’s grace that successfully delivered us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The answer is as simple as trusting and having full faith in the Lord that His grace is miraculous and can strengthen our will power in ways that nothing else can.
To continue to stay in faith and walk in the Spirit, we need to also learn to let go of our past. It is important to repent, and not let our past hold us hostage, because God simply wants us to repent. At times, our zeal for God may remind us of our guilt and unworthiness of God’s love, a healthy dose of guilt is good as it humbles us. Nonetheless, do not let that overwhelm us and become overtly guilty, which will eventually jeopardize our faith in Christ and fellowship with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
It is so common for us to always pray for blessings from God, or even ask Him to annihilate our pain and problems. In contrast, one of the attributes of being a Christian is to be tested and persecuted, and hence to pray for such an experience to fully develop our Christian identity.
Our flesh can be so weak, and if we only pray for comfort and blessings, we may fall into complacency. Pastor further explained with his own experience preaching back in the days at a college, and that he could not have pastored the church and ministered to its people effectively if it wasn’t for the continuous test of faith and will power from God.
We should appreciate the promise of God’s grace, just as it is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12, our strength is built from our weaknesses, our problems and afflictions, not from our comfort and blessings. Bear that in mind and we will develop a tough shell and become more immune to challenges.
When we are lost on the verge of crisis, we need to realize that we have the freedom to make a choice when we are pushed to the edge. The reason why we suffer when faced with afflictions is that we fail to acknowledge our freedom to choose or to make a brave or wise choice.
The Bible talks about the power of choice in Romans 6, that it is a powerful pre-requisite next to faith, for us to live a holy Christian life. We strongly believe in free will, the ability to make our decision, as it is also a gift from God.
Learn to pray hard and without ceasing to God for His wisdom, and that His words will continue to guide us to make some of the best choices in our lives, in ways that best honor and please our Heavenly Father.