We recently read about being careful not to boast. Here Paul says, “If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.” When we boast of our weaknesses it is often to show our victories in God. Some people find joy in wallowing in their misfortune. That’s not what I’m talking about here. Paul wasn’t either. His accounts of his trials were not to gain sympathy or to complain. They were to show the power of God to sustain him.
As I write this, the whole planet is under watch or attack of a pandemic virus. You can’t have a conversation, turn on the television, peruse social media, or even read your email without mention of this “trial” of life. It is affecting everyone differently. For those close to it, with loved ones affected, I have no words. Families are being torn apart and unable to comfort each other. People are dying alone because there is too much fear of spreading this virus. For those of us staying indoors, limiting our contact with other humans, there is less concern. Yet, we are all in a place of weakness. We all need Jesus’ power to sustain us.
I don’t know how people who don’t have faith in God are making it through these dark days. Years from now, this will only be a story we all tell, much like our remembrance of September 11th, the Challenger explosion, huddling under desks during Cold War air raid drills, and the scramble to be prepared for Y2K. In our weakness, God can do his best work–if we allow him.
Reading through Paul’s trials left me feeling a little guilty for ever feeling like I’ve got it rough. Can you imagine? It wasn’t just bad luck. Satan was trying everything he could do to keep Paul off track. God’s plan for Paul’s life kept him from perishing. Paul had a job to do, and no beating, shipwreck or other calamity was going to end Paul’s mission. Are you clear on your mission from God? Are you ready to endure hardship to further the kingdom? Do you trust God to help you?
How we handle ourselves when we go through the trials of life says a lot about our character as well as about God’s provision. Do we live in fear or do we live in anticipation? Do we have doubts or are do we have clarity? What are our goals, motivation, triggers? Take some time today to let God’s peace wash over you. No matter what you are facing, God is bigger.
Let’s pray … Lord, you know my concerns over this virus, and I thank you for how you are equipping your people and using the unexpected to turn the darkness into light. I pray for everyone struggling today with their own trials. Help me to rely on you and to trust your mercy. I want to live in your will, be a light to the world, and experience all of the beauty you have designed for my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.