Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. I Corinthians 12:8
After a year dedicated to finishing my book on Teachable Moments, usa shop it looks like by July it should be done. Of course it’ll still need to be edited, seek rewritten in parts, and then finally published, but at least it will basically be done. After which I will begin to seek where God would have me serve next. He has always been faithful to provide in this respect, but pray for me anyway as I seek His will and new direction.
The devotion I leave with you today has to do with the “If only’s” in life. I took many of my thoughts from Cowan’s Springs in the Valley.
Often during my life, especially when frustrated, I posed many “if only’s’ to myself, others, and the Lord as well. Here are just a few of those, not all by any means.
- If only my circumstances were different.
- If only what happened had happened in a different way.
- If only I had the opportunities and advantages of that person.
- If only this difficult task had been a little easier.
- If only the sorrow I’m experiencing could have been given to me at another time, or not at all.
- If only I could have been forewarned of the trouble I’m in.
- If only I had gone about things differently.
- If only I had listened.
Have you ever had any of these “if onlys”? Probably so, but be encouraged Paul the great Apostle did too. He had a particular problem that he asked the Lord to remove. He described it as a thorn in his flesh, and evidently thought he’d be better off if only the Lord would remove it. The Lord didn’t feel the same way, in fact He felt Paul would be better off by keeping it with him. So there it stayed and Paul became a better man because of it. So it will be with you and I, for God knows what’s best for us both even if we don’t like the circumstances we’re in or facing. You know, the ones where we say, “Lord, if only….” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Here’s a story where it really worked out for an “if only’ to remain an “if only.” If you have children or grandchildren, it’s a good illustration to shared to get this important point across to them.
A certain man had a garden which might have been very beautiful had it not been disfigured by an immense boulder which reached far under the soil. He tried to blast it out with dynamite, but in the attempt only shattered the windows of the house. Being very self-willed he used without success one harsh method after another to get rid of the disfigurement until finally he died of worry and blighted hopes. The heir, a man who not only had common sense, but used it, soon perceived the hopelessness of striving to budge the boulder and therefore set to work to convert it into a rockery, which he covered with frescoes, flowers, ferns and vines. It soon came about that the visitors to the garden commented on its unsurpassed beauty, and the owner could never quite decide which gave him the greater happiness–the harmonious aspect of his garden, or the success in adapting himself to the thing that was too deep to move.
So the unsightly boulder which could not be removed proved to be the most valuable asset in that garden when dealt with by one who knew how to turn its very defects to account.
“God often plants His flowers among rough rocks!
Let your if only’s go, let them dissipate and fade, for you are much better off with the circumstances God has given you then the one’s you wished He had given you. Believe that He knows best.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me–to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me
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. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.