My family and I just got back from another fun camping trip. It went much more smoothly than the first one I wrote about a few months back. This time we went up to these beautiful little cabins near the ocean. It was fabulous. My in-laws were visiting us as well so they came up and joined us on this trip.
Now, as I have mentioned I personally do not LOVE to camp. I do enjoy it but it’s not my absolute favorite thing in the world. It is however my husband’s and apparently three of my four children really love it too.
In fact most of my days are spend in some kind of pain. Sometimes it’s so bad that I can’t even think straight. My whole body feels as if it’s on fire. And I have had four babies so I KNOW pain. Some days are good and I feel minimal pain but either way I have to be careful not to overdo it so I don’t have to pay for it by feeling miserable later.
And so on this camping trip, I knew there was a chance that I would be in some pain or discomfort so I kind of had to lay low. This meant missing out on walks and hikes to the beach with the kids. I opted instead to go off into town with my father-in-law for a short outing. I figured it would be safer.
It bums me out though. I know my husband would probably love to have a more “active” wife. And he deserves one. I wish I could do all the fun things he does and have the endurance for it but I just don’t and sometimes it just really stinks. He is sweet and understanding and doesn’t give me a hard time about it but still I wish things were different.
|My sweetheart helping little dude over the rocks|
While “laying low” I did have some quiet time and was able to do some reading which was great. I spent some time with my bible as I watched the waves crash on the beach. And wouldn’t you know it; I ended up right at 2 Corinthians 12:9, my “theme” verse. Only this time I focused on the verses leading up to it and I was really struck by verses 7-8.
“. . .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.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
The apostle Paul had a chronic and debilitating problem that he prayed God would remove. But God didn’t heal him. And though he didn’t receive healing he was able to receive grace and strength of character as he saw that God was able to use him despite his condition. And the Lord promised that He would display His power through Paul.
I have a “thorn” in my flesh. I have prayed that God would heal me and make me well. He has not done that yet and I don’t know that He ever will on this side of eternity. It’s hard to find joy when I’m feeling lousy; it’s hard to “delight” in weaknesses. But yet I know that without Him I would be nothing. I know that there are times I wake up unsure of how I’m going to get through the day, and HE gets me though them. And because of my pain I have had to slow down, I have had to ask for help, I have had to rely on God for every single aspect of my life because I don’t have the strength to do it on my own. I rejoice in Him.
And so as a result of having to depend on His strength, I have found joy. I have found peace and grace. It washes over me like the waves over the sand. By drawing nearer to Him I have been made more aware of His presence in all my life, the good and the painful. He has been able to work in and through my life despite my weaknesses and He sustains me.
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. ” Isaiah 46:4
So even though I’m not a hard core camper, I had a great time with my family and experienced all sorts of joy. We had good food and played games. We made s’mores and told stories in the dark. I even took a chance and went on a little adventure walk with my hubby to find some sticks for the s’mores. It involved climbing some slippery rocks so I felt pretty proud of myself. I was a little achy here and there but it was manageable.
How about you sweet friends? Are there some “thorns” in your life that threaten to steal your joy?