Every day presents lessons for us to learn. Some can be painful if we choose to look at them in that way. They can be very painful if we choose to resist the lesson rather than embrace them and look for the good. Many of us are in the midst of lessons that are seemingly overwhelming to us. So many choose to look at their circumstances and pray or wish them away. This takes me back to Paul and his “thorn in the flesh”. He tells us that he asked God three times to take this “thorn in the flesh” away, but God finally told him “My grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 “7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” So many of us read that, but don’t truly understand what it means. None of us knows what Paul was struggling with here, and that seems to be the point. God wanted us to understand that there were going to be some things in this life that we would struggle with that would not be taken away. Think about what a mess we would have in this world if we received everything we wanted in exactly the way we wanted it.
Remember Bruce Almighty. This was a controversial movie in some circles, but what impressed me about it was near the end when Morgan Freeman (who was playing God) asked Bruce, “Since when do people know what they want?” When Bruce was busy playing God, he decided to grant everyone’s prayer request with a “yes”. This resulted in mass chaos. Everyone got what they wanted and found out it really wasn’t what was best for them or others around them. Think about your children; if you would give them everything they wanted would that really be for their best. No, we must teach our children discipline, delayed gratification and many other lessons so that they grow up to be able to function and have a positive impact on the world around them. We are no different. We need to learn lessons daily to become who we were created to be.
Maybe instead of praying our circumstances away, we should start looking for the lesson that’s hidden there. If our prayers were always answered with a “yes” we would learn very little. We would be unable to be empathetic to others who were struggling with issues. We wouldn’t be able to relate to anyone that had any sort of obstacle or problem. God can use us so much more when we walk through things rather than being miraculously delivered from them all the time.
For several years I have struggled with my finances. I prayed for a long time that God would provide what we needed, not realizing that God wanted me to learn to rely and trust in Him as my provider. He wanted me to stop trusting in my abilities and trying to get my way and start trusting that He knew what was best for me. I remained stuck in this place becoming more and more resentful until one day I broke down and decided that I didn’t want my own way anymore. Doing things my way and not listening to anyone that God had placed in my life had gotten me into a world of trouble. My circumstances didn’t change, but I did. I started choosing to be grateful for all I had been given and stopped focusing on what I did not have. Today, my financial situation is consistently improving and I feel blessed every day that God didn’t give up on me.
What lesson are you struggling with today? Please share to show others that they are not alone, and so you can be supported with prayer.