Sunday, October 20, 2013

Driven Into the Heart of God By Our Struggles

“To Keep Us From Excessive Pride” – the Poem
Praise God, praise God,
Regarding a thorn in the side,
It’s divinely-appointed purpose,
Is to keep us from pride.
Remember the purpose that God had for the Apostle Paul’s thorn (2 Corinthians 12). Part of it was to humble him and to keep him honest, reliant on God’s strength and not his own. A thorn in the side (a recurrent area of struggle) can have its purpose in keeping our pride in check.
Being as it is, an area of weakness and struggle, when it is at the forefront of our understanding – where we cannot, in all honesty, depart from it, unless to do so would be the vastest of all denials – it keeps us in God.
In such a state – in the region of spiritual presence – we can be driven into the very heart of God, for praise, instead of dwelling in our weakness; discouraged and disempowered by it.
If God has good purposes for our struggles we can know quickly what purposes Satan has for them; they are there to weaken us and to compel us to give up.
But God has given us this struggle – a dependence on something unhealthy, a physical ailment, a mental illness, a disability, etc (though God’s will is to heal us) – for the demonstration of his glory; as we praise him despite the issue. Overcoming an addiction is for God’s glory, because even if we’re clean we are never not an addict.
When we go the way of praise in our struggle instead of the way of pride for something we do well, God tips into us various lashings of joy and peace; the abundance of his Spiritual Presence.
 We are blessed, no longer seen personally as cursed.
God wants every recognition to go to us for the things we call praiseworthy and not pride-worthy. No sane sinner wants to wallow knowingly in their pride for a struggle; only the humblest servant of God will call it for what it is – the demonstration of God’s power when we praise God for something we would prefer we didn’t have.
God is with us in every area and facet of life; there is a theological reference point to the most inane of discouragements and disappointments. If only we would go there with our God.
***
When we go the way of praise in our struggle instead of the way of pride for something we do well, God tips into us various gifts of the fruit of the Spirit; the abundance of his Spiritual Presence. We are driven into the heart of God because of our struggles; our opportunity is to praise God for his purposes in them.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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