i’ve mentioned on this blog before that on monday nights i have the privilege of leading the women of our church in a Bible study. at the end of the evening i try to wrap up the week we just completed and bring us into the next week. this is what the Lord gave me this week…

many of us know the story, paul was given a thorn in his side to keep from becoming conceited. he asked the Lord to remove it three times and the Lord said, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect weakness.”  

what are the thorns in our sides? what hurts us, but isn’t going away? what reminds us consistently how weak we are? a wayward child? a complacent, unloving husband? a seriously difficult boss? unfulfilled desires?

we have a choice to make in these situations, we can choose to let our emotions dictate how we respond OR we can choose grace. maybe we don’t have a “thorn” in our side, maybe we have been asked or are expected to do something that in our natural abilities is not something we would choose to do.

i think of esther who was asked to confront king xerxes, a man who had signed a petition to kill all her people, to literally annihilate every person, babies to elderly individuals. i’m sure she was terrified, i can’t even fathom what she must have felt inside. i’m sure she considered the fact that the king could kill her right on the spot for asking something like that. how did she respond? she asked her people to pray and fast with her for three days before she would confront king xerxes.

i think of mary, the mother of Jesus. i can’t even imagine what was going through her head when she was told she would give birth to the Messiah. she was engaged to be married, she was set to live an ordinary life with this man she didn’t even know. and now she is going to have a baby as unmarried woman?? but what did she do? she put her feelings aside and said, “i am the Lord’s servant. may it be to me as you have said.”

i think of ruth. her husband is dead and she is living with her mother-in-law. if you know the story of ruth and naomi, you know that eventually naomi changes her name to mara (means bitter) because she feels the Lord has made her life just that bad. when ruth, naomi and orpah are traveling together, naomi tells them to leave her. eventually, after a bit of dialogue, orpah decides to go. you can’t really blame her either, naomi is one bitter lady, i don’t think i’d want to hang around her either. ruth on the other hand insists on staying. she says, “where you go i will go. your people will be my people.”

i want to be like them, like mary, ruth, esther. choosing to respond with grace and strength. like paul, boasting all the more in my weakness so Christ’s power will rest upon me.