What if God doesn’t give you what you prayed in earnest for? What if the job, the spouse, the child, the clean bill of health doesn’t come?
My heart, my flesh, want to tell me that He isn’t good. That He is withholding goodness from me. That I have sin in my life, I have done wrong and I am not worthy of answered prayers. The lie of value and worthiness come sweeping in and give me doubts of who God is and the truth He speaks.
More and more I am finding that it’s not God I need to question, but my faith and belief in Him. My choice to believe Him or believe the doubts of His goodness, the lies that are at the door waiting for the tired, weary, lonely to set in or the affirming truth that even in the midst I will sing of His praise.
I think that’s why Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians pull me back, again and again. We have heard them before if we have been in a Christian community for any time. I have oft joked about something being a thorn in my side. But this plagued a man of God who journeyed through faith in so much that he brings it up in his letter to the Corinthians. He uses it not as a source of doubt and agitation with God, questioning His goodness, but rejoicing in God’s power and reliance.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
It’s not for us to dwell in our hardship (easier said than done, right?) or question a good Father because He gives out grace sufficient for us in it. He pours His power through us so that we are strong in our very own weakness.
Y’all for so many years this passage was flowery to me but more and more I find in the difficulties and hardships I would run to doubt and fear rather than delight. Now I see the immeasurable power and joy in these verses that Paul was trying to convey to Corinthians and to us. There is joy in the hard of life, there is praise worth giving because of Him-not because of us. Even when it hurts. Even when we don’t understand. Even when kids get sick and there’s no answer.
Even then I will praise Him for I get to see His power and love, grace and mercy at work where only a struggling, failing, weak flesh was before. Even when it doesn’t come as I had expected He is still good.
This song from Hillsong United, Even When It Hurts, has been the inspiration for further digging on God’s goodness in the face of unanswered prayer and hard times. I hope you take time to listen today and the days ahead in whatever you face.