-I am talking like a mad man-with far greater labors, far more
imprisonments, with countless beatings and often near death.
Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.
Three times I was beaten with rods.Once I was stoned. Three times
I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent
journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from
my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the
wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and
hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often
without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things,
there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not
indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my
weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed
forever, knows that I am not lying. At Damascus, the governor under
King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, but
I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped
I am stirred by this. I honestly wonder why I ever complain. Life is hard, I get that. But to what degree do I understand? Things are thrown at me everyday. I dodge, sometimes get hit directly between the eyes, but I somehow still manage to keep going. My struggle is in the fact that I find it extremely difficult to sit and spend more that 5-10 minutes with the one who is the only reason I can keep going. I look at what Paul went through, and I feel like I am missing something. There is something more that he was in touch with. What had he tapped into that drove him to press through the most gruesome of adversities. I am sure it is the love and grace of the kingdom of heaven. If so, then what is my problem? Do I even have a problem? Am I spot on, but because I have a tendency to over-think and over-analyze I am missing what is right in front of me?
My dilemma is that I sit at my desk and attempt to read, but I physically feel the weight of my flesh saying, “no, this is not normal”. I am very well acquainted with that which Paul stated: For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate(Rom. 7:15). I want to be relational with Jesus, read my Bible and sing my praises to Him. Everything else is what I hate, because it draws me away from those very things. I struggle with responsibility to make time for Him. It is very much my fault that I have less time than I want, but I am still lost as to how Paul got to where he was in 2 Corinthians.
This is the real life struggle of a human who longs for the one who created him. I am not ashamed. I wonder, as I have written this, if I have done just that which Paul was talking about, boasting in my weakness. I never thought of it that way. Though I struggle Jesus promises to make all things new(Rev. 21:5) and to work all things out for good(Rom 8:28). Though I am imperfect and I struggle, I will be made new and good.
The idea of pregnancy is what I leave the reader with. A baby rests once conceived, but only for a time. At a point, the room in the tummy runs out and something has to give. Labor is the avenue to freedom for this little one. Newness of life is born into the world and what a wonderful day indeed. I look at my struggles as labor pains. It sucks, but at the end of the time is the inevitable reality that something is born. If I stick with it and fight till the finish, I am promised goodness. It is like any form of training. I work and work and get angry and frustrated, but all of a sudden, something breaks and beauty enters the atmosphere of my life and I am better because of the struggle.
FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST AND TO DIE IS GAIN.
(I was going to post a picture with this entry, but I couldn’t really come to terms with putting a picture of some random pregnant lady I didn’t know up here.)