Saturday, 17 June 2017

Topsy Turvey by Susan L.

I am content with weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:10

  At first glance, this affirmation generated a great big, "What?" But it's better than simply being content!

  "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." JCB

  Paul was given a thorn in his side following a fantastical journey into the third heaven. The thorn was a messenger from satan to keep him from becoming proud of this blessing. It was a reminder that the knowledge wasn't permitted to be shared because it was beyond anything his brothers and sisters in Christ would be able to understand. He had kept silent about it for fourteen years before writing about what had happened.
  Paul begged the Lord three times to take away the painful thorn. You know what His response was?
  "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." 2 Cor 12:9 JCB
  Five times the Jewish leaders gave Paul thirty-nine lashes. This might get a bit grim but bear with me or if you like, skip to the paragraph after the break.
  The average human can't take that kind of punishment all at once. It would be divided over several days to give the body time to heal: a period of grace if that's another way to look at it. Those doing the punishing wanted their victim conscious.
  But the break only lasted long enough to enable the sentenced to take the next set of lashes without dying. This cycle would go on until all thirty-nine were completed. Not only is this a physical torture but it's also a mental one. The brain and body would constantly cringe at the thought of what was coming. There were probably people sentenced to this kind of punishment who lost their minds during the process.

  To go through this five times and survive mentally intact is a work of God. To even be alive is a work of God. To be thankful for the experience? Wow. Maybe this is why:

  I took a moment to reflect on the scourging Christ experienced before being crucified. It must have shocked and confused those doing the whipping that He neither fainted or died from blood loss. All He did was lean on His Father to help Him get through. I am reminded that every lash represented sin cut into the flesh of the Innocent for one purpose: that my sins can be forgiven. Therefore, I can be reconciled to my holy Father. 

  To know first hand a fraction of His suffering must have filled Paul with an undying gratitude. Paul got it. He knew the richness of God's grace and the immeasurable strength of One who knows no weakness.
  My sufferings are only a fraction of Paul's experiences because the Lord has spared me much. I have not been persecuted for my faith. I am not afraid for my life because of what I believe. I am free to worship where I choose, to pray, to write. But most of all I am free to celebrate all the trials when the Lord has sustained me.
  Lord, help me reach deeper into Your sustenance when life is good!
  "And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you,. For My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor 12:9 NKJ


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