There will be experiences we will be led to go through in this life that we may not understand why God is allowing them to happen. At such times it is vital we realize that Christ still resides in us and will manifest Himself in and through us during any crisis. We must rest in that fact if we desire to maintain His peace.
Paul was called to go through many trials and tribulations. He lists a few of them when he shares his thorn in the flesh experience (2Corinthians 12:7-10). He asked God to remove them, but God said, “No,” to his request. The reason was that through these difficulties God’s power and character would rest on Paul and shine out through him. Some of the thorns Paul encountered were according to his own words: infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions, and distress for Christ’s sake.
These experiences made Paul feel weak, helpless and vulnerable. He realized the value in all this when he stated, “when I am weak, then am I strong;” meaning God’s strength would be manifested in and through him when he realized his utter weakness.
At first these difficulties challenged him and were confusing; he didn’t understand. That is why he prayed three times for God to remove them. Then when he came to see the reason God left them in his life he could say, “most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” He could actually thank God for these thorns.
Paul came to realize these “thorns” were opportunities for God by His power to more fully manifest the character of Christ in and through him. These thorny experiences and trials are not circumstances we would choose for ourselves. However, God in His great wisdom chooses them for us. They are His means of discipline. In Hebrews we read about God’s discipline.
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye edure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?…Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:6-7, 11
These difficult situations are times that try our faith; we are tempted to distrust God – to question His leading and loving care for us. In this context we are told:
“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:3-4
The striving mentioned here is the faith challenge we will face at such times of trial. The trial of the cross was not easy for Christ to go through. He prayed three times for it to be removed. His faith was challenged, yet He remained faithful to His Father. During our times of trial we will face such challenges to trust God and rest in the fact that He will fulfill His word to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). If we remain faithful to Him through the difficulty it will bring forth the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” in our life.
We have the “assurance” of salvation when we “trust” Jesus with our lives, that’s it. Once we trust Jesus, He, our great Heavenly Physician, will perfectly heal and restore us, thus our assurance is in Jesus, not in ourselves or our future. Salvation is Now!! 1John 5:11-13, 1 John 3:2, John 17:3