It is easy to drift, wander, or day dream, when given the chance. Even when I am focused, I might think to myself “Wow, look how focused I am right now!” I might even think, depending on where I am, “Can everyone see how hard I am working? I must look so busy to everyone else. Is my boss watching?? How much could I get done if I was like this more? If I played less video games? I haven’t played video games in awhile, will I remember how to play? Should I play when I get home? For how long? I’ll set a timer. Which timer? The one on my phone? Or the one on Alexa?”
Yes, this is what I think at times. No, my boss isn’t watching, so no brownie points were scored.
Eventually, at some time during my day dream I wander back to reality, to what I was supposed to be doing. Eventually, I complete what I was doing, but not without a few distractions of checking Twitter first, then Instagram, then maybe Facebook if I’m really bored or not wanting to do whatever I am supposed to do. But something always brings me back.
For better or worse, this happens to me and my relationship with God. I will say, for better, because I cannot imagine my life would be better without God. But there is always something that pulls me back to Him no matter how far I have drifted, and I am glad it happens. Fortunately, also, I do not wander away from God for very long. At least not anymore.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul recounts conversations He has with God, asking for a thorn to be removed. But God says to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made in weakness.”
There are times I feel I am pretty proud of myself or confident in how things are going. Then my kids start acting crazy, and I lose all my sanity. Then I need to try and take a breath, say a prayer, and ask God for His power to help me be a loving, peaceful father.
Paul had a thorn in his side to remember God’s grace by.
I have my own thorn.
My wife seems to have hers. Separately, we both came to the real possibility she may deal with what she has been struggling with for the last year for a long time, if not the rest of her life. She has noticed when she has had her thorn, she has had to give work over to God and her coworkers to handle instead of taking it all on herself.
Both of our thorns don’t seem to be going away, but neither is God.
The thorn keeps us closer to God, keeps reminding us that He is what we need to live free.
The thorn leads me to surrender because I cannot do life without His power. I keep falling and failing, trapped in my own sin if I don’t continually surrender and ask Him for relief from my thorn, to have it removed.
He doesn’t take it away, though. That would be too easy, but it also doesn’t mean He doesn’t hear me, or isn’t a good God, or that He doesn’t care, or that He is trying to torture me. He just reminds me that His grace is sufficient. His power is what I need all the time, not just when I need Him because I am in trouble.
I always need His power and grace.
I have heard some sermons lately with one of the main points being God’s timing is not ours, and we may ask for an answer for “a long time”, but He’ll answer when it is His time. And once I get an answer, looking back, I’ll be able to see all the steps along the way where God was there even when I didn’t think He was.
That is not always easy to do in the moment, in the moment when all you want is relief from the pain, the shame, and the guilt of the sin. It can be difficult to choose to turn to God and admit you need help, but that is when He steps in with His power – in your weakness. And it is enough.
His power is always enough.
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