NOVEMBER THEME: PEACE LIKE A RIVER. PEACE IN PAIN 2 Corinthians 12:6-10.
PEACE IN PAIN
2 Corinthians 12:6-10
2 Corinthians 12:6-10. 6 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, 7 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. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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. 10 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.
Peace:is a fruit of the spirit that produces inner rest, comfort, tranquility and wellbeing of the soul and spirit, It is a divine presence that overrules all circumstances.
Philippians 4:7. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (How does it work?, in fire, wilderness, etc
John 16:33. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Verse 9 Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 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.
"Thorns" can have a very definite purpose and rewards. Paul's thorn had a definite purpose and was not removed by God even with many prayers.
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
1 Peter 1:6-7: In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
a) To get your attention, to protect & direct you: When God is trying to get our attention, Sometimes it takes affliction to make us change our ways.
b) To correct you: Some quality lessons we learn in life majorly comes through pains and failures of chastening
Hebrews 12:6-7. “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children……
c) To Perfect you: Problems when handled correctly, are character builders. God is far more interested in your character than your comfort.
Romans 5:3-5And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope:5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
d) The "thorn" may actually reveal God’s loving way to humble you and keep you in check
1 Peter 5:5-6 Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Be covered with humility because grace is given to those who are humble, and God lifts up those who are humble.
Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Zachariah 4:6. …….'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty.
it is sometimes for others benefit that we suffer. (Joseph)
2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
For the glory of God
Your pain and inadequacy may be an opportunity for God’s power to be revealed. (the man born blind: John 9:2)
2 Corinthians 4:7-10. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”
I) A Test to prove you.
Life is a test of many things: our convictions and priorities, our faith and faithfulness, our patience and resilience, our love and desires.
Prov. 17:3. The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart (Deut. 8:2
Make peace with God.
(Job 22:21, Isaiah 55:7, Isaiah 1:18-19
(ii) Keep your focus on Christ:
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Isa. 32:17, 18 The work of righteousness shall be peace; and My people shall dwell in a habitation of peace
Psalm 119:165. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (John 16:33, Colossians 3:1
Phil 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Joseph M. Scriven (1819-1896) wrote “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” . Joseph was 25 years old and about to be married, but his fiancée died in a tragic drowning accident the day before his wedding. Heartbroken, he sailed from his homeland Ireland to start a new life in Canada. While working in Canada, he fell in love again and became engaged. But his hopes and dreams were shattered again when his new-found love Eliza became ill and died before the wedding could take place. But through it all, God sustained him. Around the same time of Eliza death, Joseph received word from Ireland that his mother was ill. He could not go to be with her, so he wrote a letter of comfort and penned this poem:
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grieves to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer. Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer. Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.
Philippians 2:13. For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.. 17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
In the late 1860s life was good for Horatio G. Spafford and his wife Anna. Horatio was a sincere, devout Christian, an active member of the Presbyterian church, and a loyal friend and supporter of D. L. Moody and other evangelical leaders of his day. They were living in a north side suburb of Chicago with their five children, Annie, Maggie, Bessie, Tanetta and Horatio, Jr. He had a successful law practice in Chicago. Until now Horatio and Anna Spafford had led a charmed life. They had everything going their way. However, in 1870 their faith was tested by tragedy. Their four year old son, Horatio, Jr., died of scarlet fever. The Spaffords were devastated. In October of 1871 when the Great Chicago Fire broke out Horatio faced another test of his faith. A few months before the Great Chicago Fire, Spafford being a wealthy man, had invested much of his wealth in real estate by the shore of Lake Michigan. Not only did the Great Chicago Fire destroy most of Chicago but most of Spafford's holdings were destroyed. 250 people died in the Great Chicago Fire and 90,000 were left homeless. In November 1873, Spafford decided to take his entire family to Europe for a vacation, intending also to assist Moody in his evangelistic work once he arrived there. However, Spafford was unexpectedly detained in Chicago due to urgent business concerns, but decided to send his family aboard the ship as scheduled. Midway through the trans-Atlantic voyage, their ship was trucked by another vessel and it sank. Spafford's four daughters—Anna, eleven; Maggie, nine; Bessie, seven; and Tanetta, two—were among the 226 who perished in the aftermath. Mrs. Spafford, one of the few who survived, sent her husband the heartbreaking telegram: “Saved alone.”
After Ana was rescued, she said, “God gave me four daughters, now they have been taken from me, someday I will understand why”. Ana heard a soft voice speaking to her, “you were saved for a purpose, it is easy to be grateful and good when you have things going well for you, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God”.
Spaffordimmediately sailed for England to join his grief-stricken wife. As his ship passed the approximate location where his daughters had drowned, his deep sorrow mingled with his unwavering faith in God's goodness caused him to compose the hymn. “When peace like a river attendeth my way”
When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul!”
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live; If dark hours about me shall roll No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
Probably very few, like Spafford, are able to maintain their faith in the face of such devastating bereavement without spiritually faltering.