(The writing and ministry community is a supportive one, and I’m happy to introduce a new partner to the “Uncomfortable Grace” family, Ron Tompkins. Ron is a chaplain in Florida and an alum of my alma mater. However, we “met” through the magic of social media. He’ll be posting encouraging words here periodically so make him feel welcome!
Ron operates “The Prayer Page” on Facebook. “The Prayer Page” is true to its name, but it also assists “individuals who have been abused, scorned, or burnt by a church or religious organization. The Prayer Page is non-denominational [and does not] get into theological debates or arguments.” The online conversations between the hundreds of people who follow “The Prayer Page” has been respectful as well as a challenging, so it fits perfectly with the concept of Uncomfortable Grace. I’ve guest blogged on The Prayer Page, and Pastor Ron is sharing his thoughts with the Uncomfortable Grace community this week.)
I have been struggling with numerous health issues for the last 18 months. One after another. Some we were quickly to answer. Others it took many, many months to answer.
The most recent has been severe back and shoulder pain. I have sought relief from both my personal physician and a chiropractor with no relief. During these days, I had a hard time concentrating, like I thought I should, to The Prayer Page.
Many times I would ask the Lord, “How am I supposed to do what needs to be done when I can barely pick up my phone?” Each time 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 came to mind:
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 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.”
So I continued with the thing I could do. It was nowhere near what I thought I should do, but you know something?
It was O.K.
His grace was sufficient. He gave me just enough grace to pray and worship Him.
His strength was sufficient. He didn’t give me the strength to do everything “I” wanted to do. However, He did give me the strength to handle the largest volume of traffic His ministry ever had in one month.
Our life is a lot like a movie. I love “The Godfather”. At one point a character nicknamed “Sonny” gets a phone call that makes him angry, which is no surprise because he has a reputation for having a short fuse. After the phone call, he lets revenge get the best of him and takes off, only to end up being murdered by his enemy.
Every time I watch the movie, I shout “Don’t do it. You will be sorry!” Why? Because I have seen the entire movie and know how it ends. The only movie I have really watched and have no idea how it ends is my life. However, God has seen it, and He knows how it ends.
So when (not “if”) suffering comes, remember…
- God’s grace is sufficient.
- God’s strength can be made perfect in our weakness
- God knows the ending of our movie because He wrote the script.
- God gets the glory!
(For more from Pastor Ron Tompkins head to “The Prayer Page” on Facebook.)