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I’m gonna tell you a story from the Bible. Well actually, I’m gonna read it from The Message Bible. And then, I’m gonna tell you some tea about my life. Here’s the story:
II Corinthians (which is SECOND Corinthians and not “Two Corinthians, by the way) 12:7-10 relays the apostle Paul’s message like this: “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.“
There is soooo much goodness in this passage. Number one, Paul had seen a lot of things since he began to walk with God. However, the enemy of his soul had another plan, and that was to give him something that would hinder him. The Message Bible calls it a “handicap” and the King James Version calls it a “thorn” in Paul’s flesh. Can’t you relate? It’s the one thing that keeps you from being “perfect” in the eyes of society. It’s that one thing that seems to always come up to try to block your progress. It’s that one thing about you that you can’t get rid of but you wish you could. If you ask God to reveal it to you, it will be revealed.
Here’s the thing about this little situation. The passage of scripture references this thing as a “gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.” Paul didn’t say “This thing was given to me and it made me worse.” He didn’t say “This thing was given to me and it ruined my life.” He was able to see the “thing” for what it really was. The enemy wanted to use it to kick up against Paul and make the way harder for him. And because of that, Paul asked that it be removed. He asked three times. But what did God do? God let him know that His grace was enough. He let Paul know that any time he is weak, God’s strength will come through. No matter what.
So what did the next part of the scripture say? It says, “Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” The weaker you get, the stronger you become.
The more you exercise, the more your muscles break down at first. The more they break down, the stronger they become the next go around. What we see as limitations and hindrances, God sees as gifts to be expressed to the world. Think about people who have autism. Although they appear to be delayed in a lot of areas, they are complete geniuses in other areas. They have heightened senses, and they can perceive things and remember things in ways that we would have to work hard and even go to school to learn how to do. It’s amazing.
Today, I want you to remember something. No matter how old you are, no matter how much you have accomplished and no matter how much you love God, you WILL be given a thorn in your flesh. You will have something that will come into your life to try to handicap you. But you need to ask God what to do with it. I’m not even telling you not to ask God to take it away. Why? Because everything that comes to us isn’t for us to keep. But what I AM telling you is that if God intends for you to keep it, treat it as a gift. Use it to work to your advantage.
So here’s the tea from my life. Although I will not ever attempt suicide again (and I decree this over my life very often), I still get thoughts of suicide from time to time. They come to me. They come to me in good moments. They REALLY come to me in bad moments. I used to think my testimony wouldn’t be “valid” or “real” unless I could say that I no longer have the thoughts anymore. But what I’m realizing is that my testimony IS valid because even in the midst of hearing “You should just go and end it all”, I AM able to rely on the grace that is always enough for me. That’s what gives me the validation I need. That’s what empowers me to be able to talk people out of suicide EVERY DAY. I can say to them, “I know what it is to have suicidal thoughts all day and tell myself that I WILL NOT give in.”. THIS… is my gift. And I’m grateful for it.
Today, I want you to ask God to show you what you have been gifted to do. Change your mindset about your “thorns in your flesh” and watch your whole life change. I did… and mine did. Yours can, too.
Have an amazing day today. Show love to yourself AND others. . Be GREAT! I speak life to you and everyone and everything connected to you! Catch me tomorrow!
BONUS: This is my heart’s cry in this season of my life. I hope it blesses you. ♥