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How concerned is the Christian God with your discomfort?

Truthfully, not very much. He is clearly not as bothered with it as we are.

God’s seeming lack of concern may cause Christians to doubt His love and care. “What possible reason could there be for this kind of trouble? Please don’t tell me that ‘God has a plan!’ That’s insulting!” However understandable it may be that discomfort may cause us to doubt His love, we followers of Jesus are to believe that the Lord truly does love us in spite of what may indeed be uncomfortable circumstances.

Let’s consider Paul’s plight.

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7–10).1

When we are in some similar distress, our response to this passage may be, “That’s nice that God is gracious toward me. But I really need help! This hurts! This is crushing me!”

It’s here that believers are to don their faith and truth war-gear. Our present circumstances and the way we humanly think must be subsumed under the inviolable truth about the nature of God.

Let’s think about Paul for a moment. Not only was he given this “surpassing” great revelation, the magnitude of which, as far as we know, had been given to only a select number of believers, but Paul had also been given thorough insight into the grace of God like no one else. As far as we know, he had a ministry of starting and caring for churches that no other apostle did. Even though Paul made it clear in the first chapters of 1 Corinthians that he was a servant and “not anything,” the Lord told him that he needed this thorn to batter him so he wouldn’t be lifted up with conceit. It’s not difficult to imagine that Paul would have been tempted in this way.

The Lord cared more about Paul’s upright walk with Him than He was with his uncomfortable harassment. God hates pride. That discomfort was Paul’s reminder that he should not be conceited about what God had revealed to him. It was not because he was such a special and amazing man, but for one reason alone: His grace. So, Paul’s response was noble. He took the negative answer to his prayer for deliverance and incorporated it into his life. He gave in. He submitted to God’s word and will. He was willing to be buffeted so that he would know that God’s grace was one of the essentials of his life.

All that we have by way of provision—breath, heartbeat, money, food, employment, water, and all that we enjoy and possess—is from the Lord alone. All our natural as well as spiritual gifts are from the Lord alone. All that we have of life; yes, eternal life, and truth is from the Lord alone. Our righteousness and sonship, our relationship with him, are from the Lord alone. We have these things only because of His grace. We deserve none of it.

That’s it. That’s the sum of it. The Lord, in spite of difficulties, discomforts, and harassments from Satan, wants us to believe that grace alone—eternal grace alone—is sufficient for us. So, I encourage all Christian readers here to be strong in their faith regarding the Lord and this truth. I encourage them to take on an eternal perspective in their trials. All eternity is before us, and I have no doubt that we will count these difficulties and discomforts as nothing in the reality of that eternity.

 

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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