It’s suffocating, you have knots in your stomach, your head hurts just thinking about it, your heart races out of fear, and how am I ever going to make it through this? We each have circumstances and seasons of life where things just don’t go our way. You wonder how you are going to overcome the debt, pay the bills, finish the work, take care of the project, survive the illness, cope with the divorce, make it through the day after the death of a loved one, and your list may have other things on it. You know the feeling, you reach a point, a breaking point, a moment when you sight and wonder, God how am I ever going to make it through this? God what were you thinking?
The apostle Paul knew this feeling well. Paul was beaten within inches of his life on multiple occasions, sometimes by the very religious leaders he was hoping to work with and alongside. One place specifically was the Christian community he had started in Corinth. The church was deep in turmoil, and they pointed the anger and blame towards him. This community that he had poured all his energy and love into, now turned on him, and lashed out at him. Paul turns to God and says, God take away the pain, the hurt, just make it stop, and God replies, but not as Paul had hoped. It says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” I might have said, Ok thanks God, so deal with it, it will build character? But Paul’s response is nothing like that. Paul says, “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, my emphasis)
Matthew West has a song called, “Strong Enough” about a young girl who like Paul, felt overwhelmed with the challenges in her life. One day she cried out to God and said, “You must, you must think I’m strong to give me what I’m going through well, forgive me if I’m wrong but this looks like more than I can do on my own.” How many times could you have cried out this same prayer to God? God I can’t do this, I have no idea how this is going to work, or why you are putting me though this, but please get me out. We feel helpless, confused, and hurt. It is at that moment that we often reach the end of ourselves, and can begin to understand what Paul said when he prayer, God when I am weak you are strong. So as you reach those moments in your life, as you wonder how you are going to make it, I offer Matthew West’s prayer from this song
I know I’m not strong enough to be everything that I’m supposed to be I give up I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough Strong enough For the both of us
- What helps you get through challenges in your life?
- How have you seen God at work through the struggles in your life or in others lives?
- Take a moment to read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, and listen to how Paul handles the challenges in his life.