I never find much comfort in the grim reality of the daily grind. If given the chance, I’d prefer to live in an animated tv series with a perfectly green lawn and butterflies to greet me every morning.
Alas, life on this side of glory is not always joyful. It is not always fun. I realize this. But thanks be to God there are ways to navigate this world with joy and laughter.
Paul speaks about a Power that enables him to thrive despite a series of setbacks that would cripple just about anyone.
I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. 24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.[a] 27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. 2 Corinthians 11:23-27
Paul believes that it is the Christ in Him that makes all the difference. In other words, he is able to survive prison, betrayal, beatings, depression, illness not because of his mental prowess, intellectual reasoning, strong will, financial resources; but because of his partnership with Christ that actually completes and perfects him.
Where Paul is weak and flawed, Christ makes him strong and perfect.
Likewise, if I develop a strong relationship with Christ, I will be strengthened in all the places where I am deficient. I too will be made perfectly suited to handle the stresses, health crises, epidemics, terrorist threats, economic instabilities, and mean spirit-ness of this world.
Notice that the Power that Paul speaks of does not manifest itself as a sense of resignation. Paul does not wallow in the fact that the world is evil. Paul does not hunker down in isolation with an intent to bear the world’s trials without hope. Instead Paul continues on his mission. He continues to live his life in the face of tragedy. He gets up every morning with a sense of Joy that he is not alone and that the victory is already his.
Why worry about the hardships that confront you when God has promised to provide the inner Power to deal with each and every tribulation come what may. Not only can God work miracles but God can change your countenance so that the things that used to perplex and debilitate you no longer have any effect on you at all.
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Phillipeans 4:13
It is a promise, darling.