Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Your Trial, Your Trophy

Paul J. Palma - Professor, Regent University Biblical Studies & Christian Ministries

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. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)

Today, I glance at a trophy on my bookshelf given to me in jest. The trophy emblem reads, “Largest Ulcer of 2017.” I had undergone major surgery for a bleeding ulcer the doctor reported was, “the largest I’ve seen all year.” While recovering at the hospital, a friend presented me with the tongue-in-cheek trophy. And though an ulcer is generally not something to boast about, I look at that trophy today with a grin of contentment. Through faith, our pain and trials become our trophies.

God allowed the apostle Paul to undergo a very trying affliction. He repeatedly implored the Lord to take away the tormenting “thorn” in his flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7). Yet the Lord had a greater purpose in store. He would discover that his weakness was, in fact, an occasion to “boast in the Lord.” There is comfort in knowing the Almighty is in control and on our side. God often uses hardship to mold us into the person He wants us to be in Christ. Was the apostle Paul better off on account of his distress? Indeed, that the power of God might be made manifest in the midst of his weakness. God is glorified as we are transformed through suffering.

Believers are compared to jars of clay. Though inexpensive and easily broken, God has deemed fit to display His glorious light in our midst, in spite of our weakness:

For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (NRSV)

Our frailty and brokenness encase the very glory of the living God. Though we fragment, God’s light emanates through the cracks in our lives. Our imperfections emit the radiance, splendor, and intensity of Almighty God.

God is at work in the midst of weakness in ways that may escape our immediate purview. Indeed, God’s light shines through the crevices of our weakness for those around us to see. When we endure pain and trials in the strength Christ provides, others gain a fuller picture of the reason for our hope.

When He showcases His power in our weakness; our trials, sickness, and pain, become our trophies. Hold the trophy of your suffering up high today, knowing that through your difficulties, God is winning victory on your behalf and unveiling His glory for all those around to see.

Copyright © 2017 Paul J. Palma. Used by permission.

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