31st May 2015: Strength in Weakness
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses...for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
It is true that our real character may be revealed in the manner in which we deal with adversity.
The Apostle Paul knew much of adversity. From shipwreck to stonings and from conflict to confinement, he frequently faced difficult times. And he learned that God does not always choose to relieve personal discomfort. Nonetheless, Paul saw God's strength as the means of overcoming periods of distress.
We, like Paul, will face difficult times. We might be over-burdened by the demands of our profession. We might find difficulty dealing with the results of personal failings. Or we might face overt persecution as we stand firm for God's ways. Paul's example can serve to instruct and encourage us as we face undesired situations.
Paul realised that he was not omnipotent. He even suggested that some of his discomfort, his 'thorn in the flesh', was intended to remind him not to exalt himself. We too must face up to our own limitations.
Paul knew that God is almighty. He realised that God's power was also personally applicable. He could, he told believers in Philippi, do all things through Christ. It was in facing up to his own weakness that Paul was able to appropriate God's strength. Thus Paul found his utmost strength in his own weakness. Perhaps we can avoid some of our own difficulties by recognising our own weakness and calling on our strong God before we get ourselves into trouble.
With God's strength, Paul knew how to live through adversity; he persevered. He could be down but not out. He could be perplexed but not despairing. He kept living with the attitude of a servant despite the adversity in which he found himself.
Like Paul, we shall face adversity. We, too, must learn to recognise our own weakness, to appropriate God's strength, and to keep pressing on. Thus, we can shine brightly even in seeming defeat.
1st June 2015: The Voice of Stillness
'... and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:12
Does life ever overwhelm you? So many things can happen -- good things, bad things, all kinds of things -- that they knock you flat. Do you wonder when they will stop -- when the tumult will cease? Can medicine never be the quiet life?
Elijah was one of the great men of God, but things got him down sometimes. When Jezebel put him on her death list he packed up completely. Rather paradoxically he asked God to let him die. God treated him gently and strengthened him. He wandered off, but was obviously still unhappy. He came to Horeb, the mount of God, took refuge in a cave and had another attack of the miseries, pouring out his heart to the Lord in a stream of self-pity.
This time God was not so gentle. Elijah really got the treatment: 'And behold the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake and, after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire...'
God was showing his power. Elijah apparently needed to be made aware of it. The demonstration must have been terrifying, but Elijah had to learn the hard way. The demonstration had, however, been made, and the message was getting through. Elijah was ready for something different, and something different came: 'after the fire a still small voice'. Another translation says: 'a voice of stillness'. And in the stillness he was again able to tell his troubles.
Somehow the atmosphere is now different. Perhaps in the stillness Elijah is now listening, really listening. God shows him the way ahead. Communication is restored. Confidence is restored.
The story is worth pondering. Sometimes we think we have had enough, whether it is sheer physical exhaustion, deadness of heart, discouragement, even a sense of spiritual abandonment. God may then treat us gently, and we at least pretend to take the healing with gratitude. But we may not be really listening. Self-pity can cause severe deafness. And God may have to give us the treatment, as he did to Elijah.
The experience can be rough and tough and tumultuous.
'Where is the god of love?' we then ask, unheeding of the fact that Love is shouting at us. When we are ready to listen, then -- only then -- comes the still small voice, the voice of stillness. And in the stillness God reaches us.
if there is strength in weakness, i must be REALLY strong haha. nvm just keep plowing on. it maKEs me a better dr. and maybe a better person too. and preshift chocolate really makes life better like you wouldnt imagine. post shift chocolate too. just chocolate in general