Never Been Stronger

Never Been Stronger

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Mid-life kind of “snuck up on me,” friends. At 44, I guess I’ve been running full-speed ahead and never pausing to think for a minute that life is AT LEAST half over for me (unless God’s got an extra decade or so lined up for me that the average American woman doesn’t get). And in the midst of this sudden “mid-life awareness,” trouble began to push in at me from many sides. Struggles in loved-ones lives, struggles in friends’ lives, struggles in my own life (which I thought had been dead and buried for years now). I began to feel the very true reality that life was just hard, for me and for many whom I love. My weakness and inability to “fix things” grew heavy upon me until I began popping out emotionally.

I picked up a well-loved book by John Piper, and began asking God for fresh eyes to see truth. “The goal of the gospel is not an easy life. It is deeper knowledge of God and deeper trust in God,” Piper says. He goes on, “…the gospel is strange. Its goal is not my immediate ease. Its goal is my being so in love with Christ and so passionate about his glory that when my suffering can highlight his worth I will bear it gladly” (God is The Gospel, Piper).

These words hit a spot in me that needed to be hit again. The spot that is so prone to pour over my sorrows that I forget to look at Christ and see his glory. I am so intent on God relieving my suffering that I miss the fact that He is literally working IN the suffering. This is what Paul points to when he writes,

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on 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.”

2 Cor. 12:9b-10

Though I had loved and cherished these verses most of my life, they meant something new to me in my mid-life awareness. These words told me that in my weakness–the weakness I was so down about–my life was a magnet for Christ’s power to rest on me. That was GOOD NEWS! In fact, in this weakness of mid-life, I was more prepped than ever for Christ’s power to be on me, in me, and at work through me. MORE GOOD NEWS!

Perhaps you too are feeling the toll of suffering right now, whether in your own life or in the lives of those you love. Commit your way to God. Your suffering is the means of God’s power resting on you. Rather than being worse off than you’ve ever been, you are actually positioned more perfectly than ever for God to come and be at work in and through you. This is Good News, my friend. Yield yourself to the One who works all things for good in your life, because you love Him and are called according to His purpose. I’m still learning how to be content with these weaknesses of mine, but if it means more of Jesus in me, then I can hang on…I’ve Never Been Stronger.

Kristin Bunting About Kristin Bunting

Kristin wishes you could pull up a chair, enjoy a cup of coffee, and talk with her about how amazing Jesus is. For 33 years she has walked with her Savior, and each year is a new adventure in learning how He is always "Enough" for her, no matter what the circumstance. Kristin is wife to one loving small-church pastor, and never ceases to be amazed at the 3 daughters God has given them to raise. Her one-day dream is to write a book for women, chronicling her walk with Jesus and encouraging them to never quit pursuing the God who loves them.

Comments

  1. First of all, I love your author photo, Kristin. I can see your sweet compassionate heart in the look in your eyes.

    You make such a lovely point in this piece, Kristin. Suffering initially focuses us on ourselves because the pain is often acute and fixates our mind on relieving it. We immediately go inward, not surprisingly, which is where we find Jesus (in our heart). I think grace helps us see how God is working on us through the suffering.

    “Its (the gospel’s) goal is my being so in love with Christ and so passionate about his glory that when my suffering can highlight his worth I will bear it gladly” (God is The Gospel, Piper). These words of Piper’s reminded me of a friend’s husband who was dying of leukemia. His feet were very painful at one point. When people commiserated with him, he’d tell them his best friend’s feet hurt, too, from a nail being driven into them.

    “Be holy as I am holy,” God commanded some five or six times in the Book of Leviticus, not only to the Levites, but to all the people. I see people’s holiness most clearly in times of their suffering. I’m sure you know what I mean.

    Isaiah 35:8
    “A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it.”

    Thank you for sharing John Piper with us, Kristin. Thank you for reminding us of Paul’s words, “when I am weak, then I am strong.”

    Chris
    http://www.ChrisManion.com

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