What I was really feeling was SAD in hope, IMPATIENT in distress, and at a LOSS FOR WORDS in prayer!
But I'm learning that when something keeps "RESOUNDING but not RESONATING ", it usually means God wants to REVEAL a hidden truth or REMIND me of a forgotten one...
So as I dug around, he reminded me that the guy who wrote this had been shipwrecked, beaten, stoned, imprisoned, hungry, cold, naked, and in constant danger (2 Corinthians 11).
That's alot of struggles, but honestly, none I can really RELATE to.
But then he revealed something I had NEVER seen before...something at the very end of Paul's list of struggles:
"Then, besides all this, I have the DAILY PRESSURE OF MY CONCERN for all the churches. Who is weak without my FEELING that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with ANGER?” (2 Corinthians 11:28-29)
You mean Paul "WORRIED" about those he loved? That his heart was HEAVY for them? That he was spiritually and emotionally INVESTED in their well-being?
You mean he was a man JUST LIKE ME?
YES, YES, YES, and YES!
YET, every word out of his mouth was full of POWER, not PITY...full of LIFE, not LAMENT.
Okay, THAT got my attention...
Because to be honest, THAT'S where much of my JOY in hope, PATIENCE in distress, and FAITHFULNESS in prayer gets challenged too...
In the "DAILY PRESSURE OF MY CONCERN" for those that I love!
But then Jesus spoke something that RESONATED with my heart and REALIGNED my perspective.
He said, "I never identify a STRUGGLE to promote SELF PITY...I do it to PERSONALIZE my POWER!!"
THAT was the key right there...that's how Paul did it!
Even though he was naturally FLAWED, he was Spirit FILLED!
And the TRUTH is...so am I!
I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me, because HIS POWER is PERSONAL in ALL things...even THIS!
I CAN be JOYFUL in hope...because "the God of hope is filling me with ALL JOY and peace as I TRUST in him, so that I may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
I CAN be PATIENT in distress...because I am "being STRENGTHENED with ALL POWER according to his glorious might so that I may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks..." (Colossians 1:11)
And I CAN be FAITHFUL in prayer...because "the Spirit HELPS me in my weakness. I do not know what I ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself INTERCEDES for me through wordless groans. And he who searches my heart knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)
It's really TRUE...
When our NEED is SPECIFIC...so is HIS WORD!
When our STRUGGLE is REAL...so is HIS STRENGTH!
When our BATTLE is PERSONAL...so is HIS POWER!
You know, it's really okay to ACKNOWLEDGE the STRUGGLE, as long as we remember to APPLY the TRUTH...
Because it's the TRUTH that really sets us FREE!