There was a time in my life where I was so weak, so broken and so despondent that I got down on my face in my bedroom and cried out to God for help. That night I had a dream. In the dream, I was in a worship service with my hands raised. A lady from church laid her hands on me and I blacked out and fell backwards. Then I woke up. Something had changed, God had touched me.
Immediately upon waking up, my phone rang. It was my mom; she was calling me at about 6 in the morning, something she rarely did, if ever. Something had changed in the spiritual atmosphere. I could sense the presence of God. My problems did not magically go away in that moment, but God gave me the strength to carry on when I desperately needed it.
Psalm 143:8 says,
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you” (NIV).
Sometimes God allows us to come to the end of ourselves. He stretches us beyond what we may think we can endure, “beyond measure” (see II Corinthians 1:8-11, NKJV). But He always shows Himself faithful if we will place our trust in Him.
There is a power that God releases in our lives through our places of brokenness. Our deep place of brokenness becomes a source of great power. That power is a life-changing force which flows through us to bless others.
Sometimes God does not completely remove a problem from our lives, but He gives us the strength we need to carry on in it. At times, I have experienced a heavy weight of oppression in my life. It used to be quite crushing, to the point I questioned whether I could hold up under it. I praise God that today I do not struggle nearly as much as I used to. God has given me victory. It has been a slow victory as I have learned to walk with God and take ground from the enemy “little by little” (see Exodus 23:30 and Deuteronomy 7:22, NKJV).
It is reassuring to know that Jesus faced attacks from the enemy until the day he died. In fact, in God’s divine plan, He actually uses the enemy to strengthen and perfect our faith. We learn to “rule in the midst” of our enemies (Psalm 110:2, NKJV).
God has used the weaknesses of my life and the assaults of the enemy to refine my character and perfect my faith. I have experienced some instantaneous deliverance in my life, on a few occasions, but usually breakthrough is a gradual process.
The Apostle Paul states,
“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 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” (II Corinthians 12:7-10, NIV).
The Bible does not define Paul’s thorn, only that God used it as a tool to keep him humble. Perhaps this is significant for us? What might your thorn be? Just to be clear, a thorn could never be a sin because the Bible is clear that God has called us to live and walk in holiness. Whatever your thorn might be, God’s grace is sufficient for you to walk in victory.
Our deepest places of brokenness can become the place from which emanates the sweet fragrance of Christ. Indeed, He gives us “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3, NKJV). Suffering is not fun, but it draws us closer to the heart of God. The cross is where our Christianity becomes most real. Pressed up against the cross, will we run and hide or will we press in and surrender? As we embrace the cross, His love becomes more real in us and our brokenness becomes a place of power.
God’s grace is sufficient for us in the midst of trials and difficult circumstances. Those circumstances may not change immediately, but as we press on through them, we will press through to the other side. He does not always deliver us from the difficulty, but He delivers us through the difficulty. He uses trials to make us strong. His power is perfect in your weakness.
“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.”
-2 Corinthians 1:8-11, NKJV