Can I just take a few minutes to be completely honest? I am so tempted to believe that I’m not qualified to help other people. I am broken. I am a sinner. I face trials. I have struggles. I feel unworthy. How could I help or encourage someone when I need help and encouragement myself?
But that’s a lie. It’s a lie of the enemy who wants nothing more than to see me isolated and hurting. And if I believe the lie, the enemy will get his way.
You see, buying that lie will do me no good. It will ship me off to an island. It will drain me of all energy. It will make me believe I am nothing. And I don’t want to choose that fate.
So here I am. I lit my favorite pumpkin swirl candle, grabbed my laptop and got settled on the couch so I could be honest with you and tell you that life is hard sometimes, that I am imperfect and that I sometimes let those things keep me from writing. It’s so much easier to distract myself than it is to be transparent and share my struggles, even when I know it will encourage someone out there.
But I will choose to believe that God uses messy people like me. He can use the cracked, broken pot of a sinner that I am. He loves to take broken things and make them beautiful. That includes me and my messy life.
If you’re like me, and you need encouragement to see that God can and will use you despite what you’re going through, then this post is for you. And this scripture is for you. In 2 Corinthians 12, we see that Paul doesn’t have it easy, but he allows God to use him anyway.
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
You see, God has great purposes for things that satan meant for evil. Paul clearly pleaded with the Lord for an easier situation, but God said no, and Paul pressed on. I love what John Piper says about this passage:
When Paul prays in verse 8 that God would take the thorn away, the Lord says, No, because my power is made perfect in this weakness. In other words, I have a purpose in what is happening to you. This is not ultimately Satan’s destroying work. It is ultimately my saving, sanctifying work.
And, don’t you see? This weakness strengthen Paul’s faith. AND, on top of that, despite his weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities, Paul presses on to encourage others–and I have to believe that God can do the same for you and me! So when we find comfort, when we find hope, when we find encouragement, we shouldn’t just be quiet and keep to ourselves. We can turn to chapter 1 of 2 Corinthians to see why that is:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
So, instead of curling up in the corner, I’m choosing to share with you the comfort I have received from God. I won’t hide, I won’t back down, I won’t silence my pen. I will keep writing, even in the hard times. I’m making that promise to you, to myself and most of all to God.