Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thank God for Paul!

Failure. Not a word that comes to mind when you think of Paul, is it? When I think of Paul, I think of a spiritual superhero. BUT, if we take a look at his life, we see lots of failure.

I have a hard time putting myself in place of biblical characters. I guess I always think they had some supernatural power and didn't truly "experience" the things they speak of; that they did not "feel" things like we feel them. I realize this is not just seems to be how my mind works. I have come to accept that they were in fact just humans as we are. With that in mind, when I put myself in Paul's shoes I am overwhelmed by the feeling of failure. I imagine that there had to come a point when he said......I am at the end of my rope, can things get any worse? And the answer always seemed to be a resounding, YES.

In 2 Corninthians 11:24- 27 Paul says, "Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from the Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked."

I don't know about you, but I think I would have given up and gone home after one set of lashes. Can you just imagine all the things you would have been saying to yourself? "Is this REALLY what God wants me doing? Surely there would not be so much opposition. Is this God closing the door? How long will I have to endure this? Would God really put me through all this if this really were His will?" We have become spoiled. We expect that living for the Lord will be easy. I think about all that Paul went through and I am amazed. The word endurance comes to mind.

I think the most important thing to note about his failure is that is was necessary for him to succeed. FAILURE IS NECESSARY FOR SUCCESS. This is a hard one to swallow. I actually really hate failing. At least I have an excellent example to help me the next time I question God's purpose for my failure!

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