When God Says No (Part3)

thorns looking up to the sky

TO BOAST IN CHRIST

The immensity of God is something that we need to remember in the midst of trials. His infinity is manifested in the sufficiency of His grace to us.

Power Perfected in Weakness

Who boasts about their weakness? It is just not done. But Paul does, that the power of Christ may be seen in his suffering. The only time we see the beauty of God’s power displayed is when there is nothing of us to see—just Him.

When we go through trials, when we long for relief from our troubles and then God says “no,” offering us His grace instead that we might boast in Him, we seem to forget that this is where our salvation lies.

During that time when the Lord called us to be saved in Him, and made us realize what we were, we gladly went to Him and confessed every sin that He would expose and ask for His forgiveness. In the world’s assessment, we were unredeemable and had no sense of pride left in us after such emotional degradation.

But we were happy, weren't we? We were happy, because we knew that in our confession of nothingness, we gained the fulness of God and His promises—including the promise of salvation for an unworthy sinner!

The very pillars of our salvation contain this very confession—the same confession that Paul is making in 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10:

…Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

To Know and Gladly Boast in Christ

Paul said he would gladly boast [hedista]. Hedista in Greek means most gladly, or most sweetly, or the sweetest of all. Such words remind me of the Puritan writers and the missionaries of old who would speak of sweet fellowship with the Lord, even through great persecution and great difficulties.

But we were happy, weren't we? We were happy, because we knew that in our confession of nothingness, we gained
the fullness of God and His promises—including the promise of salvation for an unworthy sinner!

Indeed, the Lord calls us in Christ—and enables us—to go through suffering and hardships of all sorts. By His grace. Not simply a grin and grit your teeth deal, but with gladness. This is what he says after when God says “no.” Why? Because it is for Christ’s sake.

It is not boasting in a believer’s ability to go through “fire” and live. It is embracing the thought and truth that it is for the glory of God that we would gladly go through and boast about sufferings. Because in them, the power of God is greatly seen. His hand is clearly seen. And the cross is made more real to us and to others when we respond in this way to suffering.

The boasting is a glad boasting, because we are boasting about the greatest in our lives—Christ Himself!


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Pull-quote: But we were happy, weren't we? We were happy, because we knew that in our confession of nothingness, we gained the fullness of God and His promises—including the promise of salvation for an unworthy sinner!


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