“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” (Psalm 139:17-18)
This verse has always astounded me. It is amazing that the God of the universe, Who created all of us and all that we see, Who holds the stars in place and sustains life on this earth…also thinks about me!
"I am engraved on the palm of His hand." (Isaiah 49:16)
"He has the hairs on my head numbered." (Luke 12:7)
He loves to be with me!
But for all of that heavenly love and extravagant affection, do I respond to the Lord in that same way?
Do I long to be with Him? Spend time in His presence? Know His thoughts on my life? Worship God for who He is?
And when I’m tired or in a difficult season, do I long to rest in His presence, or do I want to:
…crash in front of the TV?
…eat something fattening?
...medicate my pain?
I have to be honest; in my moments of deepest need and pain, I want what God can do for me more than I want to be with Him.
Recently, my husband went through a lengthy season of unemployment. It was an incredibly emotional and stressful 19 months for us.
I just wanted God to save us. I wanted Him to provide for us. To intervene and do something about this – give my husband a job!
But as the days dragged into months, and the months dragged into almost two years, the Lord began to give me something more important than a new job for my husband or more valuable than money. He began to show me that He wanted to give me more of Himself.
I think this is what Paul discovered in 2 Corinthians 12 when he was dealing with the “thorn in his flesh”:
“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
In the face of the thorns in our flesh, do we really believe that having Jesus is enough? That His presence, His love is better than anything this earth has to offer?
When I am facing all manner of hardships, do I realize that those are not always moments to beg God to get me out of, but are instead the opportunities to experience more of God Himself?
I want His strength, to experience His grace that is sufficient for anything I face. I want to realize that my humanity, in all its weakness and frailty, can be the beautiful stage for the display of the glory of God!
Oh believe me, I was so grateful when my husband finally got a job in November of 2013! But I would not have traded that unemployment season for anything. I have fallen more deeply in love with my Jesus. I’m no longer afraid of my own weakness or the broken circumstances of this earth, because I have found Him to be my all-in-all during the darkest times.
I don’t know what thorns you may be facing today, but may I invite you to spend time with the Lover of your soul? He wants to give you all of Himself…an endless supply of love, grace, peace and mercy that is beyond sufficient for whatever you are facing! And I am praying for you, too!