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”And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” 2 Cor. 12:7
”So tremendous, however, were the revelations that God gave me that, in order to prevent my becoming absurdly conceited, I was given a stabbing pain--one of Satan’s angels--to plague me and effectually stop any conceit.” 2 Cor. 12:7 [Phillips]
Over the years we have talked about different reasons why God allows problems in our lives. Here is another one. I like the way Dennis Peacock puts its: Power is guarded by problems.
In the above verse we see that Paul had tremendous revelation of and from God. He had to have this revelation for the things he faced and for writing most of the New Testament. And yet, to keep him from pride and making a shipwreck of his life, God allowed him to face tremendous troubles and opposition.
Problems remind us that we are human, that we are not in control, and that we desperately need God. The more power, authority, and revelation God allows us to have, the more we need to be driven to God for His strength, direction, and wisdom.
Power without problems would destroy us. We would become proud [we are only deceiving ourselves if we think otherwise] and end up destroying ourselves and wounding or destroying those around us. On a human level, power tends to corrupt and God, in His wisdom, has put a safeguard around it - challenges which drive us to Him in humility.
People who grasp and struggle for power before God is ready to give it to them are on very dangerous ground. If they do get it...watch out. They may begin well, but they will end up making a wreak of their lives and hurting those around them. Pride kills. Those who fight for power are usually those least able to handle it. Watch out for them, lest your own life be hurt.
Does this mean we are to be afraid to handle power? No, God is wise. He does not give us more than we are able to handle in our level of maturity. I doubt any of us have so much power that we need a personal messenger of Satan to keep us humble. We can trust God not to give us more than we, with the help of the Holy Spirit, can handle. We need to use the power that we do have humbly and wisely. We don’t bury it in the earth out of fear, but neither do we grasp things before their time. We learn to walk in step with the Spirit of God.
Problems, although we don’t like them, can be a good thing. They can be a motivation to drive us to God. They can also be a sign that God is moving us to another level. If we want all we can have of God, then we must not be afraid of troubles. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we must become problem-solvers and keep pressing on it God. We know that if we handle these challenges correctly they will keep us from pride and allow us to grow in God.