The Lord Will Provide.
This is our stewardship theme this fall. It is a phrase that we have heard often. “Of course God will provide” people tell us, “just have faith and hold on!” The un-asked questions or responses to that statement – which can often terrorize us and undermine our faith – are this; “If God provides, then why do we suffer?” “Why isn’t everything wonderful?” The apostle Paul asked these very questions on several occasions. Especially when he was dealing with a very difficult part of his life that he referred to as “a thorn in my side.” Eventually he came to this realization:
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 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. (2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT)
My grace is all you need, my power works best in weakness. Those are powerful words. It is an important truth that we need to constantly be reminded of. God is not working in/providing for/or structuring our lives so that we can be more independent of God. Here we see God’s value that the more we are dependent on God, the weaker we are, the more God’s power, glory, and grace can flow through us. More lives can be touched and more people saved. This flies in the face of our cultural value that constantly teaches us that the more independent you are the more mature you are. The result is often a struggle or tension that exists in our relationship with God. We can often be working towards different goals. Our goal of independence (where we are in control making decisions based on what we think is best or desire) vs. God’s goal of moving us into a position where we are more dependent on God (which often feels like a weakness to us). The tension or struggle that result can tear apart our relationship with God and totally undermine our faith. Surrendering to God is the only real way to resolve this. Utterly giving in to God’s plans for our life, adapting God’s values and desires and in doing so admitting that our lives really are not our own – they belong to God. This is difficult, but this is how we move forward. What we receive at the end of this process is worth it. God is glorified. God’s presence, power, grace, and holiness explode into our lives – blessing us and everyone around us. The price is surrender. The reward includes a kind of peace that the world simply cannot fathom or understand.
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