Life Is Difficult.
Gordon McDonald, a writer, said, “disruptive moments are those unanticipated events, most of which one would have chosen to avoid if it had been possible. We don’t like disruptive moments, they are too often associated with pain and inconvenience, failure and humiliation.”
Whether we like it or not, everything that is worthy in the world comes at a price.
Life is difficult, and difficulty is the only path to wisdom………
Disruptive Moments can be:
Sickness, Divorce, Aging, Trouble Children, Raising Grandchildren, Job Issues, Marriage Concerns, Taking Care of Aging Parents, Finances, and etc………
What does God’s Word say about disruptive moments in our lives:
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
New Living Translation
7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 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.
This passage of Scripture describes disruptive moments in the life of the Apostle Paul. In these verses Paul outlines for us the purpose, pain, provision, product and perspective of this disruptive moment.
The Purpose of the Disruptive Moments:
7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God.
Paul clearly states that the purpose of his suffering was to protect him from the sin of pride. In an early verse Paul describes a time in the past when Paul had the opportunity to be caught up into the very heavens with God. Such an experience had been granted to no other person. Paul could have easily been filled with pride over this unique privilege. If it were today, there would have been a press release and an agent hired to sound the news. But God uses disruptive moments in our lives to help us keep things in perspective.
The Pain of the Disruptive Moments:
7So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
Scholars have spent untold hours speculating on the nature of Paul’s problem. We have no idea what the affliction Paul was dealing with. Some think it was eye problems, epileptic seizures, gout, gallstones, deafness, leprosy and many other suggestions. Remorse, since he had persecuted many Christians before his conversion.
Although we can’t be sure what Paul’s “thorn” was: We can say this that the word for “thorn” carries the literal meaning of a stake. Paul suggests he had a stake driven into his flesh-quite a disruptive moment.
We’re not told the specific nature of Paul’s suffering, so we must conclude that the details are beside the point. What matters is that Paul suffered in such a way that he compared it to the pain of a stake being pounded through his flesh. If we’d been told the exact nature of his affliction, this passage might have just seemed to be a story about Paul. We wouldn’t be able to fill in the blank with our own personal afflictions, and our own “thorns” might seem outside the reach of God’s grace. Instead we are invited to identify with Paul’s suffering. We’re given the opportunity to realize that if God’s grace was sufficient for him, it is sufficient for us as well.
The Provision in the Disruptive Moments:
9“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
Paul didn’t relish the painful moment any more than you or I do. In fact, he asked God three times to remove the thorn from his flesh. But God refused his request. God would not remove the thorn, but he would do something else, in the midst of the ordeal, He would give Paul all the grace he needed to continue his work. He also told Paul that His strength would be made perfect in this time of weakness.
Think of that: strength enshrined in weakness, power in pain. It completely defies and undermines the human approach to things and that’s why it glorifies God.
The Product of the Disruptive Moments:
so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10….For when I am weak, then I am strong.
What God told Paul was basically this: “You won’t lack the grace to do your job. You won’t lack the strength to be my ambassador. But the creative difference will be this: Your weakness will serve to magnify the glory of My power in such a way that no one will ever again be able to explain your experience in human terms.”
The weaker we are the stronger His grace is revealed. Or to put in another way: When “this little light of mine” becomes dimmer, His great floodlight shines all the more brightly.
The Perspective of the Disruptive Moments:
9So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
Paul had quite a perspective. In the midst of this disruptive moment Paul says, “I’m not the same man that I used to be. I’ve suffered and felt my share of pain, yet now I find within myself an inner depth, a spiritual dynamic I’ve never known before. I’ve entered into the deepest mystery of life-the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. And now that I see the meaning of it all, I wouldn’t trade a moment of misery for pure gold. In the end our pain offers us a far greater wealth. I’ve had a thorn in my flesh, and I claim it as a badge of honor.”
Paul was not a timid person. He had searched the countryside years earlier to persecute Christians. He had faced stonings and beatings for the sake of the gospel. If this was the case how do we reconcile his claim to be weak? How can a man be both weak and strong?
The answer lies in this phrase by Charles Stanley, pastor of FBC Atlanta: “When I, Paul, in and of my own strength, am weak, then I, Paul, relying on the power of Christ in me, become strong, capable of whatever the Lord requires of me, full of energy and zeal to accomplish His will.”
I have no idea what disruptive moments you have encountered, are encountering and will encounter, but NONE of them are outside of God’s grace and will. He will and does give the believer the ability to endure and overcome every struggle that life throws your way. By God’s grace, when we are weak, God makes us strong. His strength is perfected in our weakness.
God uses the weak things of this world to confound the lost.
Where are you today in your battle with your disruptive moments? Allow God to be glorified in the midst of your struggles and disruptive moments for His glory!
Pain draws me to God’s Word. In the midst of my deep pain it often draws me to deep reflection on God’s grace and mercy.