Are You Troubled?

Saturday, October 04, 2014, 6:00 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Wait!” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NASB).

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

To Torment

Paul was an apostle (messenger; servant) of God who was given great spiritual revelations from God. Because he was still human, and he was still in a flesh body, there was the potential for pride and conceit to take hold in his life. So, in order to keep him from becoming conceited (puffed up), God gave (or allowed) him a thorn (sharp and piercing affliction, irritation, or annoyance) in his flesh (body; humanity). This affliction was in the form of a messenger (representative) of Satan, and its purpose was to torment him in order to keep him from exalting himself.

There are many theories as to what this messenger of Satan was, but I will not attempt to make a guess, because I don’t think the “what” is important. Instead, I will share what I believe are the essential elements of this situation, and how this can be applied to our lives.

From God

First of all, I would like to cite the example of Job. Job was a godly and upright man who feared God, and yet God allowed him to be afflicted of Satan. Not only did he allow this, but God instigated it. Satan presented himself before God, and the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?” (Job 1:8) Satan responded by presenting to God the fact that the Lord had a hedge of protection around Job, and that nothing could touch him but what God permitted it to take place. So, the Lord told Satan that all Job possessed was in Satan’s power, only he could not touch Job himself.

So, Job’s livestock, servants, and his sons and daughters were all put to death. Job grieved over his loss of animals, servants and children, and yet he did not curse God. His attitude was that it was the Lord who gave all of that to him, and it was the Lord’s to take it all away, and so he blessed God. “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God” (Job 1:22). Certainly this must have enraged Satan. Yet, it did not end there. This happened again, only this time Satan suggested that God should “touch his bone and his flesh” (2:5) and that Job would curse God, so God gave Satan the power to touch Job, but he could not take his life. God always set the limits on what Satan could do.

Now, going back to this situation with Paul and his thorn, although there are those who would disagree with me about this, I believe it was God who gave (or allowed) Paul that messenger of Satan to torment him because only God would have the purpose to keep Paul from being conceited, and because I believe Satan cannot touch us who are the Lord’s without permission from God to do so.

For me, this gives me great comfort and security to know that when bad things happen to us that they are not without purpose, that God is absolutely and completely in control and sovereign over all things, that he is completely trustworthy and faithful, that he sets limits on what Satan can do to us, and that our Lord will carry (see) us through it all; as well as he will accomplish his purposes in and through it for the praise of his name, for his honor and glory, for the salvation of souls, the encouragement and strengthening of his servants, and for our spiritual growth, maturity, perseverance, and endurance, as well as to develop within us godly character (See: Jn. 16:33; Ac. 14:22; Ro. 5:3-5; 8:17-18; 2 Co. 1:5-7; Phil. 1:29-30; 3:8-11; Jas. 1:2-12; 1 Pet. 1:6-9; 3:14-17; 4:12-19; 5:6-11; 2 Tim. 1:8).

As well, I believe this is paralleled over into Revelation 13 where it speaks of how Satan’s emissary, the beast, is given power to make war against the saints. Although the dragon gave the beast his authority, the dragon only has authority as much as what God allows (permits). If God does not have power over Satan, and he cannot set limits on Satan and on what he can do, then he is not our all-powerful and completely sovereign God. And yet, scripture teaches us that our Lord is completely sovereign, all-powerful and that he is in control over all things, “with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him” (See: Eph. 1:15-23; Col. 1:15-20; 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:21b-22; & Rev. 3:14). Amen!

Thus, I believe that, not only can Satan not touch us unless God allows it, and that our God is all-powerful and completely sovereign over all that happens in our lives, but when God does allow trouble, hardships, persecutions, difficulties, and even physical ailments within our bodies, that he has a purpose in it all, and that it is for our ultimate good and for the good of other people whose lives we touch. Amen! In that, I rejoice!!

Sufficient Grace

Awesome! Not only are the troubles of our lives not random, but for a purpose, and limited by God’s protecting power, but his grace to us is totally sufficient to help us during those times of need, for his power is brought to completion in our weakness. I don’t know about you, but I find enormous comfort and encouragement in these words!

I know that even when my body is weak and my strength has failed, that he will give me all I need to keep going. I have seen him do this in my life on a consistent and regular basis, as I know that I don’t have what it takes, in my own flesh, nor can I do what God has called me to do apart from his grace. I am weak, fearful, and lacking in knowledge and understanding apart from God’s all-sufficient grace to me, and apart from his power which so wonderfully works in and through me on a daily basis so that I can complete the assignments he has given to me to do.

So, I must learn, and I am learning to be content in whatever circumstances he has me in, as well as I am still learning to count them all joy, for I know that for the sake of the name of Jesus Christ, and for my testimony for him, and for the sake of his gospel, of which I am a minister, that insults, persecutions, weaknesses, distresses and difficulties of various kinds are part of my life, and are part of the plan and purpose God has for my life, and that they are for my ultimate good as God works his will in and through my life for his glory.

The other thing I know with great certainty is that because God allows these difficulties in my life, and he allows Satan to torment me, at times, that all this that is good that is produced in and through me for his glory is not of my own doing or of my own flesh, but it is the strength and power of the Spirit of God working his will and purpose in and through my life. So, all praise, honor and glory belong to him and to him alone always and forever!

Wait! / An Original Work / February 8, 2014

Wait for your Lord. Be of courage.
Be strong, and take heart today.
God is always watching o’er you.
Trust Him with your life always.

Sing of your Lord. Praise His blessings.
Believe in His sovereignty.
He delivered you from your sin;
Gave you life eternally.

Rest in your Lord. Know His promise.
Beneath His wings rest secure.
Your God has a plan and purpose.
Let your faith in Him endure.

Trust in your Lord. He’ll not leave you,
Because He is faithfulness.
He will lead and guide; protect you.
In His love you can find rest.