I found this noteworthy passage when I was reading the booklet, “Mentoring for Life and Leadership” by Pastor Herman Moldez. It hit me since I’ve been counseling a couple of people the past weeks who have been overwhelmed by questions and doubts while going through faith-stretching situations.
I thought of sharing this with you, as you continue seeking the Lord at the state that you are now. Hang in there, my friend. And may the Lord’s grace be so sufficient for you as you “process” your present personal struggles. I’m sure it would be a tough “wrestling match” internally; but our God is faithful and loving — just as He was with Paul.
Living the Spirituality of Vulnerability
Paul prayed for three times and never received the answer he wanted. He prayed for deliverance, instead he remained captive to demonic torment (see 2 Cor. 12:8). Paul died with his “thorn in the flesh”. He remained weak. And he was not ashamed to admit it. Why didn’t God fix Paul’s problem and pain? As Paul struggled bitterly with the painful torment of the thorn buried in his flesh (literally or metaphorically), he discovered the power of God’s grace.
The wonder of God’s grace is exhibited in human weakness. God’s love is felt deeply in times of suffering. God became real to Paul – when He did not fix his pain, but instead gave him grace. God invites us to walk with Him in the dark alleys and deep valleys of life to experience the reality of His presence (Psalm 23:4). This does not deny the work of God to heal the sick, to restore broken marriages, to grow struggling churches to mega churches. But we must not deprive ourselves of encountering God in human weakness and suffering. The intimate experience of knowing God happens by our willingness to embrace both the crown and the cross, prosperity and poverty, joy and agony of serving the Lord (see Phil. 3:10; 4:10-13).
Rather than offering quick-fix solutions to people’s problems, perhaps we must learn to watch and wait on God. Let us learn to live the spiritual life powerfully in times of darkness. God can make Himself very real even in His silence. God is at His best when life is at its worst. So let us allow people to struggle with their own brokenness and in their own vulnerability that they may learn to embrace God’s love and encounter God’s power. We may not be aware of it, but our persistent effort to help and give advice may only make people dependent on us instead of God. Maybe that’s what we want – to feel needed and to perform our best trick and technique to solve the world’s problem. We want credit. And that’s the reason God made Paul endure his pain – to humble him and allow him to give God the glory.