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God does not ask you to enjoy the problems you deal with, but He does ask you to have joy in the results God brings

Experiencing the Power of God
God’s Power is Not a Feeling – Part IV

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 12:10 NLT
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.

Most of us in the church who teach often talk about God’s power showing up in our weaknesses. However, the Apostle Paul did not stop there. Paul added things like “insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles”.

All these negative circumstances caused Paul to feel weak and needy. In enduring these things, Paul understood that He called on God more and felt the need for God much more than when life was easy.

Is Paul saying that he took pleasure in experiencing these negative circumstances? No, that is not what Paul is saying. Paul is saying that he took pleasure in what God was able to do because of the things that made him feel so weak.

No one in their right mind would take pleasure in pain and want more of it.

I have previously used the gym as an illustration of this. A person that is going to a gym for a serious workout understands it is going to cause them pain. If you asked them if they took pleasure in that pain, they would likely say “no” but would clarify that they did take pleasure in knowing what that pain would do for them. They are at the gym to get in shape and make their bodies stronger… and that takes some pain!

This brings us to the goal of a serious Christ-follower. We want to be strong and have God use us in powerful ways. We believe that Ephesians 1:19 is true, that God has made His power available to us who believe in Him. We believe that God wants us to do great things “immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

However, the challenge that all of us face is staying humble while we carry out all God wants to accomplish in and through us. It is this challenge that circles back to Paul’s teaching that God uses “insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles” to keep us humbly depending on Him.

We hope that God protects us from the troubles and hardships that this world hands out to us. It would be great if we could promise people that if they would accept Jesus, they would never have any more problems.

But Jesus Himself said to His followers, in this world you will have troubles. Jesus knew that God the Father uses these troubles to keep us feeling weak and dependent on Him.

God does not ask us to enjoy our problems, but He does ask us to take pleasure knowing that He makes us strong because of them. When we are going through troubles we pray more, and these prayers are more fervent because of our pain. We feel weak and desperate for God’s help, then God makes us strong in Him.

Father, remind me when I am dealing with troubles that come my way, that the result will be that You make Your strength perfect in me. In Jesus’s Name, amen.