Good News: Encouragement for a World in Crisis

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV

Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 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 12:6-10 NIV

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4 NIV

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 1:7 NIV

God Strengthens Us

The strength we possess as humans is limited. No matter how many self-help ideas we implement or positive statements we proclaim, our strength will only take us so far. That may discourage some, but hopefully, the truth we read from God’s Word will deposit hope in us instead.

In 2 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul was sharing about a “thorn in his flesh” that continued to “torment” him. He actually pleaded and begged God to remove it. And each time God told him, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

Think about that for a minute. God used this man to  influence the early Church and take the gospel to numerous countries. And in his moment of weakness, he begs God to help him, and God basically says no. But God doesn’t stop there. God tells Paul that it’s when he’s weak that the perfect power of God is working best. Imagine that! We need to be weak to see God’s power work best. While we see weakness as a barrier, God is using it to uphold us. Our strength as humans may come to a certain level, but with God’s strength boosting us up, there is nothing we can’t endure!

We’re all either in a challenging season or will be in one soon. Life can either bring it gently, or it can hit like an unexpected tsunami. Regardless of how we enter into hard times, we’ll have to learn how to walk through them. We have to rely on God’s help, because what we possess on our own just isn’t sufficient. We need God’s strength.

So, when we’re in a trial where we have our own “thorn in the flesh,” we can derive power by admitting we can’t do it on our own and calling out to God. As we navigate the fiery trials in our lives, it’s an opportunity for our faith to be proven genuine. It’s a chance for God’s strength to strengthen us so that we will be “perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:4). 

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