It had been a long day of card making, reading, grading, fun with friends and then dropping off the kids with hubby so I could run and get my hair cut. Shortly after arriving home I glanced at my email and saw what felt to be a hostile email from someone I do not even know accusing me of something I did not do. My heart beat wildly as I read this short but accusatory email and stood shocked.
As I took time to pray, I knew there was more to this than a woman reacting in haste. This was an attack from the enemy. The enemy knows I hate to have conflict and the angst that rises within me when someone thinks negatively of me. The flesh wanted to quickly click “reply” and defend myself and try to make things right. The Spirit’s prompting was “the battle is not against flesh and blood” and it is not for me to wrestle with her. The battle is “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
So the first step was and is to pray. I am praying for this person and what exactly I ought to do to handle the misunderstanding. I am praying that the Spirit would give me gracious words, ears to listen and humility in this situation. I covet your prayers too.
The reality is, I feel afflicted. I feel afflicted and feeble every day but these moments hit me like a ton of bricks and cause my body to go weak. So weak, that it hurts to write and my emotions feel screwy and unstable. The enemy of our souls likes that. He wants me to crawl into a ball and shut down. That is exactly why I am writing right now. I am crushing his head with my armored shoe and I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
What is your affliction? What is your weakness? Some of us were born with afflictions. Some of them are wounds from our life experiences or current circumstances. I believe that we can be free from many of our afflictions and I know many who have been. I am set free from addictions, dependencies and so much more! And yet, some of our afflictions God allows us to remain in to do a greater work than we can comprehend. Paul asked God to take his affliction away and God’s words were clear, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
It seems strange to boast in our infirmities, afflictions or feebleness but that is exactly what Paul tells us he would rather do! Why in the world woud Paul do that? Because in this ugly feeble feeling, this weight of affliction we bear, the power of Christ rests upon us! Crazy, God loving, Christ redeemed, upside down and right side up thinking Paul tells us that we can take PLEASURE in our infirmities, reproaches, needs, persecutions, distresses, for Christ’s sake. It is in this weakness that we are made strong. (2 Cor. 12:8-11) Pleasure? Yes, even pleasure. It isn’t because it tickles our toes and creates warm fuzzies inside. It is because we have hope of the greater return. We will experience God’s miraculous strength and power flowing through our lives not in spite of our weakness or affliction but because of our weakness! It is this humbling position that God lifts us up to great heights. Oh, that we would see our trials in such a light!
James wrote in his letter to the church to count it all joy when you fall into various trials. And, yet again, it is looking and realizing there is a greater reason for it than cotton candy and popcorn balls. It isn’t a dissolve in your mouth kind of happy, it is all out joy in the God who is filling and overflowing our lives to use us and work through us in the midst of our inability.
I am praying for us today. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize. Let’s remember that what the Father allows, He will use it for far greater good than we can ever imagine. We can boast in our weaknesses. Our God is on our side!
P.S. If you or someone you know is currently in an abusive relationship, please do not consider this to be an affliction that you must stay under. Please seperate from that relationship. Seek help. Reach out to me and I will help you find the right help or reach out to a counselor who will walk through this journey with you. You are valued and treasured and worth getting help.