When Faith is Hard
“A thorn was given me in the flesh . . . to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 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.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ESV
This week has just been one of those weeks for me in regards to my spiritual life. I laid in bed early Sunday morning and was prepared to stay there instead of making a solid effort to attend church. I didn’t want to read Scripture or even think the word “theology.” When I tried to pray, though only once in the span of two or three days, all that I could muster up were feelings of doubt, bitterness, and hesitancy rather than the boldness with which we are called to pray (Hebrews 4:16).
It is during these stages of my journey that I have to sit down and be vulnerable with myself and with God. He already knows more about how I’m feeling than I do myself, after all. I confess my hard-headedness. I know I am weak and incapable of following God without His help; and I know sometimes it takes these seasons of confusion, doubt, pain, and inconsistency to shake my pride to the extent that is necessary for genuine change and growth.
We do not often like to own up to these experiences. All around us society glorifies the overly ambitious, the “go getters,” and the aggressively independent. It’s all a product of time and culture. Modernism and postmodernism have trained human beings to deny their weaknesses. When you don’t trust Someone bigger than yourself to carry the whole of reality and human experience in the palm of His hand, you have nothing left but to turn inward to yourself. To make this switch more plausible, we try to believe we have the strength that it takes to not only run the race alone, but to do so flawlessly. Effortlessly. Heaven forbid we have to admit a genuine need and desperation for God.
Don’t buy into the lie that life is supposed to be a cake walk, chiefly the Christian life. Truth and goodness are offensive to us and contrary to our natural tendencies in both thought and action. It is exhausting to wrestle with it, but we must. Surrender your weakness to Christ. Our inadequacies serve to draw our attention to His infinite strength.
Lord, it is so hard to thank You for the struggles I have in my journey through life. It’s hard to admit that my strength is inadequate, especially when compared to Yours. I have nothing to boast in but You. Convict me when I believe otherwise and help me persevere when faith and truth become too hard.
When was the last time you felt weak in your faith and truly felt the weight of your need for God? Take some time to memorize and meditate on 2 Corinthians 12:9.