I read this at a few minutes past Really Early today:
If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:6-10
I was awake way earlier than I wanted to be today. That's always a tad annoying. Don't know about you, but when I'm tired I'm prone to warped perspective syndrome. And no doubt the devil sees it as “prime time” for whispering unhelpful stuff in my ear. Slowly I've learnt a few “tactics” to combat this, like deciding to worship God come what may, or coming up with 10 things to be thankful for (yes, it's the old-fashioned “count your blessings” routine). This time I also thought about the passage above, and especially this bit:
My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.
We're taught that when we grow up we stop being dependent on our parents and stand on our own two feet. We also learn that, while God's plan is for us to work together and be inter-dependent, if we lean too much on another person or group of people we can become unhealthily dependent on them. This scripture reminds me that when it comes to my relationship with God, He absolutely wants me to be dependent on Him, and will use any means necessary to get me there and keep me there. So the annoyances, troubles, woes or outright evils of this life can sometimes be there to drive me back to God.
I say “sometimes” because some of this is just life, and I'm not immune to it – being human and all. On the other hand, I do believe that the Lord can engineer circumstances or permit stuff to happen. But really, when I'm tired, tempted to be anxious, feeling out of my depth, dissatisfied or just fed up for no particular reason, it makes no difference whether God brought it about or not. What He wants is that I should throw myself completely back on Him and remember just who is my Creator, my Provider, my heavenly Father and my Saviour. What He wants is that I be dependent on Him. And if that means life being inconvenient, difficult or even miserable – well, He'd rather have that than have me strutting around believing I'm OK by myself, that I have to “be a man” and deal with it, indeed that God's got far more pressing things to deal with than my little troubles.
In short, He'd rather have me weak so I have to look to His strength.
And so, having been back to bed for an hour or two and listened to a 1970 episode of The Men From the Ministry on Radio 4 Xtra and the first few minutes of The Archers Omnibus Edition on Radio 4, it's time to shower, dress and get on with the day, walking with Him. I may also yawn.