“And he said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness’ ”(2 Corinthians 12:9)
HOW SHOULD WE PRAY when life falls apart? This question was asked by Warren W Wiersbe when a friend was going through a difficult trial. The lady had had to retire from her job because of illness, and her husband had been diagnosed with an incurable disease. Then Wiersbe approached her to cheer her up.
“I want you to know that we are praying for you,” he told her.
‘Thank you,” she replied, “but what are you asking God for in prayer?”
The question took Wiersbe by surprise. No one had asked him such a question. As best he could, he recovered and said he was asking God to give her strength in the midst of her trial.
Then came the second surprise.
“Please ask God to help me so that I do not waste all this suffering.”
“So that I do not waste all this suffering”? For the first time in his ministry, Wiersbe later note, “I was struck by the idea that our moments of pain can somehow enrich us.
The truth is that it is very difficult to see any benefit in suffering, especially when we are the ones who are suffering! However, this is precisely what the apostle Paul was telling us when he wrote, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Why did he say that? Because it is precisely “in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses” when the power of Christ rests in greatest measure on the children of God (v. 10). All of which, in turn, harmonizes with the general content of the Scriptures in the sense that God has not promised us a life free of trouble, but rather, that He will be with us in trouble. “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him,” wrote the Psalmist; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him” (Psalm 91: l5).
Is pain knocking at your door? According to Wiersbe, there are three options available to you. One, you can try to escape it. This is the attitude of the one who sees in pain an enemy from which one must flee at all costs. Another, you can try to put up with it; that is, hold on until it eases. Third, ask God to help you “not to waste all that suffering.” ln this way, your life will be enriched by lessons that can only be learned in the furnace of affliction, and the power of Christ will rest upon you.
Thank You, Father, for the lessons I have learned in my trials and for the promise that Your power will be perfected in any weakness. Above all, thank You because You have promised to be with me in the midst of my trouble.