I always seem to have, you know, one of those passages of scripture that just gets stuck in your head for a while. Sometimes it's a couple of days or a couple of weeks. Once in a while I'll even have one linger for a couple of months.
As far as the present verse, it's been with me about a week, and I have been using it to do a bit of self-examination.
So what's the verse? 2nd Corinthians 12: 10
"For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
I have to say that I find myself more than a little challenged by the word "content" in that passage. I wonder how many of us can honestly say that if we were to go through, or are presently going through, the trials listed in that verse that "content" would be the word that we would use to describe our emotional state. After all, these are all bad things, aren't they? Are not all these thing to be considered enemies of contentment? Do not all these things cause nothing but pain and problems?
I can think of a lot of other words other than "content" that describe the emotions that so many of us feel in in the eye of the storm:
How about you? If you were faced with these trials, how would you fill in the blank?
In weaknesses I am __________
When the insults come I am __________
When hardship comes knocking I am __________
When I feel persecuted I am __________
When calamity strikes I am __________
I don't know how you did, but it didn't take long for me to realize that I need to make a few changes. And to help me get to and stay where I desire to be -- "content" despite my circumstances -- I have three truths from God's word to cling to:
1. God Knows. God is not ignorant of our troubles, nor has he lost control. "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. " (Mathew 10:29)
2. God's is glorified. Every single trial we face is an opportunity to bring glory to God. If we suffer, let us suffer well, not as those who have no hope. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)
3. God has a purpose. God doesn't want you to waste your suffering. There is a lesson to be learned with every trial; be a diligent student. Paul, speaking of the hardships he and others had suffered in Asia, said, "....but this happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God." (2nd Corinthians 1:9)
.... for when I am weak I am strong