In the past couple of days, these words of the Apostle Paul have become even more comforting to me.
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Yesterday, I got weak. I got good and sick. It’s nothing “serious,” but it was enough to put me on my back and shut me down. Since I rarely get sick, this definitely came as a shock to the system.
But these verses are a comfort. I can’t take care of everything, and not just because I’m sick. I need to rely on Christ. He is my true strength. He has taken my sins away, he as rescued me from death and hell, and he is with me in any struggle now.
This comfort does not mean I automatically get better. But it means that I need to remember that I always need to be looking outside myself for true strength, for forgiveness, for salvation. It’s all in Christ. Like Paul said, when I am weak, then I am strong!
God shows us his love often in unexpected ways and places. He certainly did that for me.
A week ago today I was on my way home from a pastors’ conference in Barre, Vermont. A pickup coming from the other direction lost control and came toward us. There was no avoiding it. After the crash, I found that I was almost completely unhurt. I had a small scratch on my leg along with some soreness. The people I was riding with, Pastor Adam Horneber (who was driving) and Pastor Jeremiah Gumm required hospitalization for their injuries. They’re both back home now, and we are all thankful that God sent his angels to protect us during this scary time. (The driver of the other car did not require hospitalization.)
I had been planning on writing a post about this all a few days ago, but the words just never came. Thankfully, Pastor Jeremiah Gumm worded everything very well on his excellent blog, The Shepherd’s Study. Click here to read his full post; it’s definitely worth your time.
I mentioned that God showed his love in strange places. I certainly wouldn’t expect God’s love to be shown in an accident that none of us wanted to happen. But it was! God fulfilled his promise to “command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11)
I’m also thankful for other things that God did for us with people he sent to be a blessing for us:
- A woman came almost immediately to the scene of the accident. She was very calm and positive, and helped make sure the police were called and that someone was there with us until they arrived.
- The Vermont state police who questioned me and took charge of the scene were also very professional and helpful.
- The tow-truck company was run by a father and his two sons. They did a fantastic job, with one son towing the car out and the other one driving me around looking for a new rental car. He went out of his way to make sure I had other transportation, and I’m very thankful for that. Later, the father let me into his business after hours so I could go through the wrecked car and get all our suitcases, bags, and everything else out of it.
- I’m thankful for Pastor John Kuske and his family from Barre, Vermont who took me in on the night of the accident and made sure I had everything I needed. I also appreciated Pastor Kuske’s devotion with us reminding us of the Lord’s benefits, both in the forgiveness of our sins in Christ and in his protection during the accident and healing afterwards.
- I’m thankful for the many other pastors and people I had been with at our recent conference who contacted me and kept me in their prayers.
- I’m very thankful for all the prayers I know about from all around the country (and beyond), and for all the prayers I don’t know about. God has heard them and he was very good to us.
God uses the difficult times, the times when we are hurting and struggling, to show his great love and to show how dependent we are on him for all things. For this I am thankful.