"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." 2 Cor 12:8-10 NIV
It's wonderful when God answers prayer the way we want Him to. We rejoice, share the praise, and feel close to Him. But what about when God doesn't do things the way we want? What about when we go through times of trial and suffering?
In tough times we can feel rejected, punished, lonely, and hopeless. Satan comes along and takes advantage of our situation and spews lies to us that God isn't there, or He isn't real, or He has abandoned us. Jesus said knowing the truth has set us free. The truth is that this life is tough. This side of heaven we live in a broken world. But God does love us. He is for us, even when it doesn't seem so.
Paul faced more challenges than most of us ever will. He was rejected, stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked, beaten, and whipped, abandoned, and left to die alone. Yet, he knew God loved him and would be strong on his behalf. Some of the most mature people I know in the faith are those that are in, or have gone through, hardship. The person fighting cancer, the person with depression, the person that has suffered much loss. In their greatest weakness, God's power comes through. His grace is more than sufficient.
Jesus told us that we would face troubles in this fallen world. He also said to take heart because He has overcome this world. We are overcomers in Him.
When we come to the end of our strength, we are at the beginning of Christ's power!