"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 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 weakensses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Lyme. I have labeled it my "thorn in the flesh", and yet do I boast in it? Do I boast in my weaknesses for Christ's sake? No, not really. How do I boast and praise when I am unable to wash the dishes piling up in my sink, when the laundry hamper is over-flowing, and when I am in bed rather then investing in our youth group at church? Why? Why was I given Lyme? Why is it an invisible disease that many do not see? Why? I know and I don't know all at the same time. I know that this is the life that Christ has given me, that He has entrusted to me, to reveal Him and His glory in this life. I don't know why He chose me for this particular life and how I am to reveal Him through it, but He did. I want with all my heart to love and praise Him for that choice 24/7, but I don't. I put myself down and beat myself up for being unable to do the simplest chores, I wallow and complain about my "unfair and difficult" circumstances. And yet I have a home (yes with dirty dishes in the sink, clothes waiting to be washed, floors asking to be vacuumed and mopped, but it still a home), I have food in my cabinets and in my frig, I have a husband that faithfully goes to work and who would and will do anything to provide for me.
I am blessed.
Sometimes I miss the blessings, I get distracted from them, but they're always there if I am willing to just open my eyes and see them. It is hard in the midst of my inadequacies to see the hope and the blessings staring me in the face, because sometimes I just want to be miserable. I feel like that is the only way to be when all I let myself see is the hardship, the Lyme, the things I can't do. But there is more, so much more if I will take off the blinders that I have purposefully put on and see life through the eyes of Christ. If I will give thanks and bless my Lord as I stand smack-dab in the middle of my weaknesses. Will I give thanks? Will I let Christ put away from me the self-loathing, the self-pity, and let Him put on me joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control? Will I let God be God? Will I give over my weaknesses and let Him be my strength, even when I feel like there is no strength to be had? Will I rely on Him, trust in Him, acknowledge that without Him I am nothing?
Will I hope?
Sometimes it's hard to hope, sometimes it feels like hoping will take more strength than you feel that you possess. Because what if hope fails? What if you're left stranded as your hopes pass you by? What then? Then comes faith, which has always been there but is being put to the test. Then comes trust, in the God who knows all and has a plan that is specifically designed for each and every one of us. As children of God we have chosen to pick up our cross...and carry them! Don't forget that it is not just about taking up our cross, it is about carrying it through life! We don't just get to pick it up so we can put if back down when it gets hard, we have been called to Christ, who carried His cross and died upon it. And yet God does not leave us to carry it on our own, in Matthew 11:28-30, Christ says, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in hear, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." He is with me, He will carry my burden with me, I am not alone, I am never alone!
Father God thank You for...
...never leaving me nor forsaking me.
...the opportunity to live in your strength and no my own.
...revealing Yourself to me in mysterious ways.
...opening my eyes to the blessing all around me.
...picking up and carrying Your cross.
...dying on Your cross and conquering death.
This is the song Glorious Day by Casting Crowns: