Suck It Up - 12.25.10 0800

Every time I read Pail's epistles and try and get a feel for who the guy was, I almost always reach the same conclusion; I don't much care for him.

I'm sure he's a nice enough guy and everything, but I don't think I could spend much time with him. He always strikes me as having a bit of a pretentious, know-it-all attitude that's hard to be around. I could be flat out wrong of course. After all, I'm basing this off of some 13 letters he wrote to struggling churches, some while he was in jail, so I'm sure that'll color it up a bit. I'm just saying that, at this point, we probably wouldn't be BFF's.

But there is a passage of scripture that he wrote that makes him the most relate-able person in scripture to me.

Have you ever hit a point in your Christian walk where you thought, if I could just get a handle on this one vice I think I could really make this Christian thing work. Most of us have at least one thing that we've realized is holding us back from being totally devoted to God. Paul never said what his was. All he tells us is that he asked God three separate times to get rid of it and each time God said no. This must have been quite the struggle for Paul. He's used to being a Jew, someone who could attain perfection by upholding every jot of the Law. Now he's a Christian, trying to be an example for other Christians, and he's got this one thing that he just can't overcome.

The thorn in his side.

And God says no.

But God, won't you give us whatever we ask for? If we're faithful enough, won't you eventually answer our prayers, remove our struggles, maybe even make our lives a little easier to follow you? why would God tell Paul - the professional Christian - no to a request that would surely make him a better leader and a better example to follow?

Because his grace is sufficient.

What does that even mean?

I think it means that God saw Paul trying to be perfect, and thus missing the point. He was trying to get the point when he wasn't doing anything wrong, where there were no more obstacles to overcome or vices to deal with. And what does God say?

Suck it up.

You will have your vices. Your struggles. Your obstacles. This is life. And there is on thing to remember through it all.

My grace is sufficient.

We are gonna make mistakes. The hard part is to remember not to let it wear us down or make us feel de-valued. God's love is unconditional, he's made that clear.

Thank you Paul for trying so hard and for asking the tough questions. We may not ever be best friends, but I'm looking forward to meeting such an inspiring example of God's grace.

II Corinthians 12:6-10

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