So to keep me from being conceited...a throne was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:5b-9
Somedays, I am mad at God for not taking away my physical insecurity. Early in my faith walk with Jesus, I thought that my insecurity issues were just as Paul said, thorns that I had to live with. Years later, intentionally consistent in my faith walk, I became confident, that God could heal me from my physical insecurities. I claimed it. I trusted Him for it. In recent months, I've come to understand that while He is able to remove my insecurity, He uses my physical insecurities as a tool.
It's so easy for me to become prideful. To compare myself and my faith walk with others'. I'm embarrassed to admit that. Further, it's hard for me to understand the prophet Isaiah.
In that year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; the train of his robe filled the temple…And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!" Isaiah 6:1,4-5
Woe to me? Well, really God, I'm not the worst of sinners. I'm doing pretty well. Have I mentioned, I'm embarrassed? As I sat in worship with other believers and listened to Isaiah 6, my stomach churning from my food binge the night prior, I had messed up again! I forgot to be influenced by the Spirit and I went on autopilot. Ahg, I am truly the worst of sinners. I can't overcome this. Really, God, I know you can heal me of this stumbling block, this thorn. And I felt Him say, "But don't you see, this is right where I need you to be. Needing me. Broken. Humble. Stripped. The worst of sinners."
If I only ever remember two things, I want them to echo the words of John Newton, "My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior."
My thorn doesn't look like your thorn. But we hate the thorns. We wish them gone. God is saying to you, to me, "The thorn draws you to me, acknowledging that I am your only hope. And I'm more worried about your relationship with your Deliverer than I am about delivering you from your thorn." (Wolf, Katherine. CBS Teaching Director Conference. Broadmoor Resort, Colorado Springs, CO. 2015 Jan 23. Hope Heals.)
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his had a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said; "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for." And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here I am! Send me." Isaiah 6:6-8
My sin and shame is taken away. My thorn is not. But praise be to God, in the posture of humility and brokenness, and I am available to be used by Him because it causes me to come to a realizing His Holy Spirit in me is my only hope of victory.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
I'd be lying if I said, "I love my food issues and my constant awareness of my imperfect body." But I strive to follow Paul's example, to be content. To praise God that my insecurities make me dependent on Him and then I can be used by Him. What thorn brings you to your knees in humility and allows God to use you? Will you choose to be content with it?

No comments: