Note: please don’t copy my pictures. Thanks 🙂 I drew these when I was younger.
By Faith….. (Hebrews 11:32-35)
32And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
34Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
The Apostle Paul’s story (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
7And 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.
8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9And 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.
10Therefore 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.
We do not know what the thorn in Paul’s flesh was. Many people have tried to guess. I won’t attempt to do so. We do know however, that Christ allowed the messenger of Satan to mess with Paul and may have sent him. Throughout the Bible we see where God uses even Satan as his pawn. Nothing can touch us without God’s consent. God even uses evil Kings to bring about his purposes.
I am not saying that God is a master puppeteer. God gives everyone free will. We must remember though that God is all knowing. He knows every thought and action of a man. He knows what we will do before we do it. So therefore God knows every possible path we could choose. Free will and predestination walk hand in hand. It’s not hard when you remember WHO God IS. He knows EVERYTHING. Of course nothing slips past Him. Of course everything works out for his purposes.
It’s comforting to know Satan is not equal with God. If anything Satan is equal with the archangel Michael. It is comforting to know that the God who created the universe loves me and filters what can and cannot enter my life. Nothing slips past Him. This sickness I keep dealing with didn’t sneak past Jesus. God isn’t freaking out over it. I may be freaking out over it. I may be worried and scared. I may and do feel weak. But God is in perfect control. It’s in times of weakness where we realize how fragile we are. Lately, I’ve felt like a paper doll. But my eyes only see this moment. God sees my forever.
I’m a small person…..always have been. I bruise easily and when my bones ache (which is often) I feel like a feather could knock me down. This is when I remind myself that God is my strength. I am dust but the strongest hands in the universe hold me. Yes, I could break at any moment. My tissues don’t hold me together. In fact, sometimes I think my body is in self-destruct mode. My savior Jesus Christ holds me together. If He took His hand off of me for one moment that would be the end. Jesus is Life and without Him there is only death.
I know I’ve been bombarding you with C.S. Lewis lately but I just have to add this quote :).
Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone. They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very centre of reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you: if you are not, you will remain dry. Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever? Once a man is separated from God, what can he do but wither and die?
~C.S. Lewis “Mere Christianity”
Out of it all, it’s really the last part I agree with the most. When we abide with God then we naturally have life. When we separate from God we have death because God IS life. I’m not talking about mere existence. I’m talking about abundant life. That quote reminds me of my favorite verses.
4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Picture of my Dad when I was a baby.
Now, back to weakness. I’m doing my best to keep my thoughts together today lol. My Dad was a brilliant man. He knew how to do several things well. Many people called him a genius. This was true of his knowledge of the Bible too. It seems like my Dad could’ve done more had he been healthy but God had other plans. I didn’t understand why my Dad was bedridden for years and why he died at such a young age (46). But I saw a change in my Dad during his suffering.
My Dad had a saying. “There’s the right way, the wrong way, and there’s the Jim Way.” (My maiden name is “Way” so my Dad’s name was literally Jim Way). My Dad was a prideful man. You could say pride runs deep in the “Way” family….especially in the men. But during those years stuck in the bed, my Dad became a humble man. Well, as humble as a “Way” can become ;).
I saw this man that was once strong in his own eyes become weak in the eyes of the world. Yet, he was never stronger than he was in his last years. I saw the love of Christ shine through him as he witnessed to his nurses and other patients. I’ve heard family say they would end their life if put in Dad’s situation but Dad was still able to find humor in things. It was clear Daddy’s joy came from Christ and not his circumstances.
Picture of my Dad, me on his shoulders, and my half-sister Jenn.
You have to realize that my Dad spent most of his life traveling. He couldn’t stay in one place or even in one job. He always had to have change. Being bedridden was bad enough but when Dad’s legs were amputated you’d think that would’ve destroyed him. Sure, he cried and had bad days. I shared many of those times with him. But instead of moping about, my Dad proclaimed the gospel of Christ. He almost got kicked out of the nursing home for passing out Bible lessons…….lol my Dad the criminal….ha!
I would bring my Dad flowers and he would give them to his nurses!
Picture below: My Dad and Michael a year or so before Dad died.
My Dad and I had some rough times after graduation but we completely made up in those last years. My Dad was in a lot of pain but he still listened to my so called problems. We stayed up late talking many a night. Dad was also a night owl. He gave the best advice. We talked openly and honestly about the future. If he was ready for death etc. God had already told him it was getting close to the time. My Dad had a relationship with God that I could only dream about. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that kind of closeness only comes about through hardship…..the hardship that causes you to look up. Is this what it means to fellowship in Christ’ sufferings? Is this why the apostle Paul took “pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses “?
I don’t have all the answers. I’ve just begun to understand a few things and I’ll probably have to relearn them before they stick. How can someone be strong during weakness? We know Christ shines strong through us. It’s really Him….not us. I think maybe when we feel strong (which is usually an illusion) we tend to focus on our self and show the world our flawed perception of greatness. But when we feel weak our eyes turn to the true source of strength, Jesus Christ. We tell the world I am nothing without Him. Yet, they see that we have joy despite our trials….that we haven’t chosen to end it or to curse God during our hardship. They see the silent strength only available through Christ.
I leave you with these verses that say it a ton better :). I apologize for my bunny trails. God bless & remember the High King Lives! ~Amber Dover
PS: Please keep praying :). I really appreciate it. I go to the doc tomorrow…
1 Corinthians 1: 26-31
26For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.