Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Limping Through Life": What To Do About Suffering....

2 Corinthians 12:9
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.

First of all I have to begin by saying I can't take credit for the following post, because most of the ideas and challenges in here are a reflection of my favorite sermon.  I was given this sermon by a young man many years ago.  To be honest, before I wrote this post I didn't remember who the pastor was that preached it, and I didn't remember what church he came from- but I do remember that this sermon changed my perspective on suffering and weakness, and in turn, my life. 

I remember hearing this sermon about suffering.  It was delivered by a man who had been through some serious suffering in his own life, having lost both his wife and his daughter unexpectedly.  Both traumas happening within the same few years.  This man- unfortunately- was credible, because he knew suffering, and he knew it all too well. 

He began the sermon by describing a man he had met who was struggling with an addiction, daily having to ward off the temptation to give in to his "forbidden fruit".  The man was discouraged, he felt defeated, as though he was limping through life rather than walking strong.

The pastor described this concept of "limping through life".  The struggles that come with every step.  For some, an addiction.  For others, anxiety or depression.  Fears, grief, disease, illness, loss, divorce, sexual struggles...things that hinder us from walking strong and uninhibited, forcing us to limp through life every step of the way. 

He went on to describe to characters from the bible- one with a limp, one without. 

The first character was the paralytic, who sat by the pool of Bethesda (John 5).  This young man was paralyzed for many years, with no one to help him.  He pitied himself, and struggled with the pain of his condition. 
One day, Jesus went to the pool of Bethesda and found this paralytic.  He said to him, "You are healed!".  In an instant, the man picked ran outside in joy- healed in every way.  100% healing.  It was a miracle...

The man ran outside immediately, excited to tell his friends and family.  On his way home, he ran into the Pharisees, who recognized this man as the paralytic.  Surprised, they asked, "Who healed you?!" 

And sadly, the man responded, "I don't know".  He had been so excited to receive his healing, that he never took the time to get to know his Healer.  He missed out on the person of Jesus Christ.

The second man described in the sermon has quite the opposite story.  Jacob, was a man who walked with a limp (Genesis 32).  He walked with a limp because one evening he met with God himself.  The bible says he "wrestled" with God.  Some say this was a literal wrestling, as he was desperate to receive God's hand of blessing on his life.  Others see it as an emotional and spiritual battle...either way, one thing is for sure- at the end of the wrestling match- Jacob walked with a limp. 

He had been left with an injury that served as a reminder with every aching step that he was a man who was desperate for the blessing of a loving God. 

One man walked without a limp- but in his healing, did not experience intimacy with Christ.
The other walked with a painful step- but every step drew him closer into the arms of a loving God.

There is truth in God's word when he talks to us about seeing Him through our weakness, because truly, that is where God is made strong.  In our weakness, that is when we are humble enough to listen to His voice.  In our weakness, there is an ache that draws us ever so frequently into the arms of our Savior. 

So today, my friends, boast in your weakness.  Today, choose to see Christ in your weakness.  Today, allow yourself to see your pain and your suffering as an avenue of experiencing Christ in a real and genuine an intimate way.  For there is no greater place for His grace to be made perfect but in our weakness.  Amen. 

Take some time to Hear the sermon for yourself, it will change your life:  Limping Through Life

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