Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Give Up…Finally

1 Corinthians 10:13 gets misquoted a lot when people are maxed out. They say, “God will never put more on you than you can bear.” What that verse is talking about is temptations and God doesn’t tempt us. The promise is not that we won’t be maxed out but that we will not be tempted beyond what we’re able to walk away from. I can say no to temptations because God will provide the way of escape.
We are going to be excessively burdened in life beyond our strength (2 Corinthians 1:8). We can count on it. Afflictions are to be expected. When Paul was afflicted with the thorn in 2 Corinthians 12, he found himself without strength to deal with it and begged God to remove it. God said, “You want relief?  Let me give you what you really need.” By asking for deliverance Paul was admitting he didn’t have the strength to deal with the problem any longer. But, instead of being disappointed, God was delighted because now He could demonstrate His strength. As long as Paul felt himself strong enough, God’s strength wasn’t needed. But when Paul admitted this was more than he could bear, God became much stronger in Paul’s life.
A drowning person typically fights to survive and while doing so will take his rescuer down with him. It is only when he gives up, decides this is more than he can bear, that he is savable. The lifeguard must wait for this critical moment.
If we’re not careful our strength can become pride and our stiff upper lip a sign of spiritual arrogance rather than faith. Afflictions help us reach the point of desperation where God becomes more important to us than how strong we are.  He promised that when we can’t even pray, the Spirit is praying for us words that cannot be spoken. He steps in and lifts us up on wings like eagles and carries us while we pass through our affliction.
He is what I am not—faithful. He has what I don’t have—strength. He gives what I must have—Himself. I can be beyond strength but I can never be beyond hope.
Lord, I will respect my suffering, knowing that when I can’t go on, You can.

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