April 8

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:10

The literal translation of this verse gives a startling emphasis to it, and makes it speak for itself with a force that we have probably never realized. Here It is: “Therefore I take pleasure in being without strength, in insults, in being pinched, in being chased about, in being cooped up in a corner for Christ’s sake; for when I am without strength, then am I dynamite.”

Here is the secret of Divine all-sufficiency, to come to the end of everything in ourselves and in our circumstances. When we reach this place, we will stop asking for sympathy because of our hard situation or bad treatment, for we will recognize these things as the very conditions of our blessing, and we will turn from them to God and find in them a claim upon Him. (Streams in the Desert)

God never gets the blues. For him to be moody would imply that one moment he is better than he is at another, and that would be heresy. “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Yet, I wrestle regularly with the self-imposed inclination to gauge God’s goodness (or its opposite) according to the transitory and unreliable emotion (my own) of the moment, as if his character fluctuated like the Dow Jones. Why do I insist on attempting to recreate God in my own image? For lack of any better explanation, I am forced to admit that I do so when feeling powerless because I want a God who knows and is intimately involved, but when life unfolds the way I want, I prefer his mood to shift toward indifference.  I seem to prefer a god who is little more than the elongated reflection of myself.

“Father, break through my self-orientation and bend me to the wholly Other. Radically impose your heart and superimpose real faces on your will, but do not allow them to be my own. Open my eyes to recognize you at work in my aching joints, in strained relationships, in family members I desperately long to influence toward the Cross, in my wife who I pray detects in me Jesus implementing a towel. Reproduce yourself in me so fully that I embody the hope of glory.”

“to whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 RV1885

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