The following verse KEEPS following me around this term. It has been preached by two separate speakers at CU events and when I was discussing this with a wonderful new friend, she said ‘It’s a bit cheesy but look, it has been my instagram bio for ages’. I literally had never listened to this verse before and now, it is one of the most important verses to me.
“I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I prayed to the Lord to take it away from me. But he said, “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
Recently, I made some bad decisions (cue, another blog post!) and I was entirely overwhelmed with guilt that I felt I couldn’t even talk to God about it. I didn’t even dare think about him, pray or anything because I felt I had broken promises to him. I wanted to run back into his love immediately but I felt like it was too soon, after being “bad”, to go back to him. No-one likes a yoyo-er in any situation, and this must surely apply to our faith right? Especially, having been a Christian for 6 years, I thought that I had it all sorted. If I really loved Jesus, I would never have done what I did, and yet I did do these things, and so does that mean I don’t love Jesus? It confused me so I just ran away from it all.
Soon after, I had the blessing of meeting a group of truly wonderful Christians who were just so shining-ly full of Jesus. It was a blessing because that very evening, on a dark walk back to my halls, someone prayed for me, and whilst I felt very resistant to it at the time, that evening and the early morning and the following afternoon at church, God just over and over again told me, “Nothing you can do can separate you from my love. I knew you, when I chose you. It is by my grace that you have been saved, it is nothing you have done.” Needless to say, that absolutely broke me, and I gave my life to Jesus all over again that day at church.
God loves us. He knows exactly what we have done, are going to do and he still absolutely loves us. We do not need to have it all together, or even a little bit together, because we are loved by God, perfect Creator himself. I myself have not changed in the last few weeks after God has said this to me: I still have the thorns in my side which make me weak. I am still sinful, I still lack the words to say to people to convert them, I cannot heal people, I do not have the answers. BUT GOD DOES. He erases our sin, he gives us words, he converts, he heals and he has the answers. Everything has changed because of the realisation that it is Jesus who is powerful. We will never be powerful and will probably have these thorns in our sides but we are loved by God so that is why we can go and SHINE in the world today, right now.
A phenomenal speaker discussed this last night in terms of bringing other people to Christ, in saying that we MUST reveal our weaknesses to non-believers. Most people fear church because they think they will be judged. We must reveal how flawed we are as people within the Church but how perfect our Jesus is. We stumble over and over again through our lives as Christians and this means that everyone is welcome to received God’s love.
Amazing grace, who sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. Let’s change “saved” to “saves” because God does this every single day! Hallelujah!