Deal with It!

I went for my yearly eye checkup.  I came home unable to decipher even the largest print due to the dilation of my iris.   I thought a lot about the Apostle Paul, the powerhouse of the early Christian church, having to live day after day with his eye problem and no hope of it wearing off in six hours.  Was it due to glaucoma?  Macular-degeneration? Cataracts?  Or, as some Biblical scholars suggest, the light from the vision he experienced on the road to Damascus?   (Personally I don’t accept the last possibility.  I doubt anyone is ever damaged by an encounter the Creator.)

However  I think it’s safe to speculate that Paul, an avid scholar, would have desperately missed being able to delve into the truths of scripture and philosophy of his time.  We know he begging and pleaded three times to be healed.  (Only three times?  That’s remarkable in and of itself.)  I can almost hear him bargaining with God–“Please Father, remove this thorn from my flesh.  I could do so much more for You if I could see more clearly!”

Read Paul’s so human response as paraphrased in the Message Bible.  II Corinthians 12:8+ “…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… no danger of then 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.’ (And this is the exciting part) ‘My strength comes into it’s own in your weakness!'”

Wow!  As the KJV puts it, “My (God’s) strength is made perfect in (your) weakness.”  That my weakness has any effect on God’s strength blows my mind. Paul goes on to write, “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…and the WEAKER I GET, THE STRONGER I BECOME.”

So, what’s your handicap? What holds you back from being the powerhouse God intended you to be?  The only change made was in Paul’s attitude.  (See I Thessalonians 5:18 KJV.)

God didn’t scold him or tell him to stop praying about his eyesight.  Instead God opened Paul’s eyes to an exquisite gift made possible only through his limitations–the privilege of possessing God’s strength instead of his own efforts.  Sometimes I forget that that’s what serving God is all about–His strength, not mine; His will, not mine; His glory, not mine.  “Father, teach me to deal with Your gifts–larger or small–as they affect my day by day witness.  Teach me to give thanks in all things.”

 

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