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.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (NIV)

I read Henry’s Thursday devotion three times so far. It’s one of those lessons that I really do not want to hear. I really do not want to learn. I would like to find a loophole in it!

I liked school. I still like to learn. I read for knowledge. I read for relaxation. I read to be challenged. I do not, however, like to be tested! I did not like tests in school. They cause stress even when I know the subject matter well. And so the message in Henry’s devotion about ‘testing’ is not what I wanted to read. I want to find some reason to rebuke the testing! It is causing me worry and stress! This cannot be my loving Heavenly Father who is testing me!!!

After searching, I find myself reading Paul’s words. Not even Paul could ‘plead’ and get God to remove his test. Paul says that the thorn was there to keep him from being too prideful. You could say that Paul’s humility was tested! What did Paul learn through this testing? That God’s grace was sufficient and that his joy, his success, — everything that he really wanted – would come through weakness not his own strength!

I also am meditating on Henry’s reference to Jeremiah. I thought it was a good point that Jeremiah did not grow any visible ‘fruit’ in his lifetime. However, I suspect God saw a lot of fruit in His son, Jeremiah, as he obediently kept speaking what God gave him…even when he did not want to say it! (those dead leaves around Jeremiah’s Obedient Fruit are Whining Leaves!) Is it not a ‘test’ to stay faithful to God’s call even when you do not see ‘success’ or ‘prosperity’? Is the fruit that I sometimes do not see the fact that my relationship with God is growing and maturing? In a test, I can sometimes hear God more clearly because – hello! – I am listening more intently because I want to hear what God has to say! I want to know that I am not alone in the test! The Teacher is still in the room!!!

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 12:9-10 (NIV, emphasis mine)

I hope that I will continue to grow and get to the place that Paul speaks. I know that God desires that I get there – because He is allowing the insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties!!! In those, I do feel the power of Jesus that gets me through that moment or that day. I just haven’t found the ‘delight’ of those experiences!

God is the giver of love and peace. He is faithful to our relationship. He is sufficient for whatever may come in all my days.

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