“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Monday, June 8, 2009

Involuntary Integration

"To keep me from becoming conceited
because of these surpassingly great revelations,
there was given me a thorn in my flesh,
a messenger of Satan, to torment me.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord
to take it away from 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 about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me.

That is why, for Christ's sake,
I delight in weaknesses,
in insults, in hardships,
in persecutions, in difficulties.

For when I am weak, then I am strong."

2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 NIV

In the Mitford Series by Jan Karon, Father Tim declares that the thorn Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 12 must be diabetes. I, on the other hand, think it must have been Thyroid Cancer or depression. Paul never shares with us what the thorn in his flesh actually is... and so each of us can come to this passage and apply it to our own situation.

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

The Good News. My endocrinologist said my TSH levels are "good"...

The Bad News. I am hyperthyroid.

The Ugly. I must learn to adjust to my current level of "normal"...

The Best News. Because of this inability to have complete control over my emotions, I have to lean heavily on the Lord. On His Spirit which lives within me. No more Voluntary Quarantine. I have to be integrated back into society with my warts and all, I'm relying on His power. His sufficiency. His grace. His perfection.

And I don't say this lightly. And I know many will not want to read this, but... this is an answer to my prayers. After the Lord had brought me through the deepest depression I had ever known, didn't I ask Him to not let me lose the sweet communion I had with Him during that time? For Him to truly be everything I need?

And I even wonder to myself... how could I possibly admit this? What in the world would bring someone to be grateful for a thorn in their flesh? How sweet could that communion with the Lord have been? Couldn't you just encounter sweet communion with the Lord without pain?

And yes, you can encounter the Lord in depth without pain. Thank God, you can! And remember that I did not pray for the pain... but for the communion.

And that is where I am at today... Thanking God for the relationship I have with Him. My need for Him. My need for Christ's power to rest on me.

Dear one, do you have a thorn in the flesh? Literally or figuratively... what is it? By all means, plead with the Lord to take it away from you just like the apostle Paul did three times. And God may do that! Praise God! But if it remains... remember, like Paul did,

"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."

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 The Message


Anonymous said...

Well said. He will always see us through!
vintage girl

Deborah said...

So glad that you have given it to God and are learning to adjust to the new normal. I will continue to lift you up in prayer that you will find peace and rest.

Patti said...

This was such a relevant passage of scripture to me (the thorn passage) at one time in my life. I stumbled upon it myself, not through any book or verse of the day and I just drank it up. To think, His power could be made perfect in my weakness. Amazing. I think you have inspired me to write a little post of my own. :)

Ms.Daisy said...

I received the CD's and was thrilled with the package! I've already listened to the first disc and can't wait to hear the others! I've posted on it today so stop by when you get a chance.
I'm so glad that you have had your medication adjusted and are feeling better. Praise God!

Thanks again with hugs,

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Some of the sweetest communion I have known with the Lord has come during times of deep anguish and frustration. For that I am thankful; I only wish to have it all the time.

I need Jesus; I need to know and feel the witness of his presence. And while the head tells me he's there, my heart sometimes has a hard time catching up.

Such a wonderfully transparent post, Sheri. Thanks for giving it to us.