I found myself back in a passage of Scripture today that I haven’t visited in awhile. You know those verses that were your lifeline for a season, the very words that saw you safely through the fiercest storms, the deepest pits, and the most difficult struggles? Those verses that etch themselves on the heart and in the mind in such a way that despite the time that may lapse between reading them, you never, ever forget their truth?
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “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 12:8-10
This passage and these verses are exactly that to me! The cadence of my walk with the Lord has often been one in which I find Jesus in the depths of my pain. When life gets hard, I have come to know the nearness of His presence and the depths of His love in my own personal depths of heartache and pain in unprecedented ways. Anybody else?
I’d like to think that a lesson once learned is a lesson that never needs revisiting, but as many of us already know, that is just not the way that God works. I’d also like to think that I’m a good student and don’t need the re-learning, but that is also not always the case. I do my best to lean in to the instruction of the Lord in my life, in both the heights and in the depths, but there are certain times when I believe God allows the pain to remain for purposes that might not ever be made known to you and I on this side of heaven.
Because He is God.
“Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.” Isaiah 37:16
Because His ways are not ours.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8
Because He knows what He is doing, even when we don’t.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
When the pain remains in your life…could it be perhaps for no other reason than to tether us to an unwavering God and teach us to remain tethered to Him, whether we find ourselves in the heights of life or the depths? And could that reason alone be enough for our faith to embrace?
The God of the Bible repeatedly makes Himself known to us through His Word, and when we run to it as the source of our hope and faith, time and time again we will find that His strength truly is made perfect in our weakness. When we come as we are, authentic in our brokenness, we give Him room to be the God He is—the God of strength and grace and provision that we so desperately need.