Dying Is Hard
These past few weeks have been the most fulfilling in the area of ministry and yet hey have been the toughest in my personal life. My ministry field has expanded to include a variety of people. With the change in my job to the Recreation Department clerk I am able to be on the yard walking with people a lot. The variety of people that I am associating with and am able to minister to is vast also. The lost have needs that they are very cautious to communicate to just anyone. Then there are the hurting, outcast, and broken that are looking for people to care for them.
Some of them I have grown close to. A few the Lord has given me Scriptures to share with and usually at very early hours of the morning. Not knowing what they are going through on the inside, yet trusting God, I communicate the message. The results are amazing. Usually they are just messages of encouragement from a couple of verses. The timing is what amazes me.
In my personal life, it is like there is a cloud. Hope seems diminished. The Word seems dry and rote. My age is catching up to me and I am feeling my years. Perseverance seems like the only choice.
I think I understand Paul’s circumstances in 2 Corinthians 12:9. We have a choice of where to put our focus. We can either focus on the “thorn” or focus on the “grace that is sufficient.” We can focus on the ways that Satan buffets us or we can focus on God’s power that is perfected in our weaknesses.
When I counsel people, walking the yard with them, I am constantly looking for the positive in the circumstances. Trying to see the glass as half-full. Focusing on the good stuff. Yet when I get back to my cell the clouds roll in and I find it hard to take my own advice. Yet isn’t that the dichotomy that Paul was talking about in the last part of that verse?
Boasting about my weaknesses? My physical ones? I am not sure that Paul was talking about poor eyesight, sore feet, or lack of energy. I believe he was talking about his inner conflicts. Paul seemed to be impetuous at times. Maybe even full of himself sometimes. Did he have other vices like anger, envy, gossip, lust, or…? Paul was very open about his failings. He learned a secret. A secret we all need to get hold of.
When we are weak, God’s power shines through us.
Most of the time I am full of ME. Maybe too full of me for Him.
That is the opposite of everything we hear and are taught. Paul learned it the hard way. I guess we have to go through a learning process also. It is called dying to self.
Paul put it this way in Galatians 2:20,
“I am crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me…”
Dying is hard but necessary. That’s how Jesus lives.