Can God Still Use A Weakened Vessel In These Last Days?

November 12, 2013 at 11:09 AM 2 comments

Whther broken, cracked, or simply weakened, God can use all vessels for His glory.

Whether broken, cracked, or simply weakened, God can use all vessels for His glory.

by Janna Brock

Paul was a tormented man. The scriptures never says what he true affliction was but it can be discerned that he had a what the Bible refers to as a “thorn in his flesh.” It was all-consuming. Whether this was an actual physical illness, pain, or outward affliction, what ailed him was deep and brutal. It was bad enough that he asked God to take it away three times, but it could not be relieved through prayer.

God chose not to take it away from Paul. Why? He could have easily healed Paul of his affliction. But he chose not to do so.

(2 Corinthians 12:7): Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me- to keep me from exalting myself!”

In these last days, pride is an equal opportunity destroyer for the Christian and non-Christian. In Paul’s trials and tribulations, most can see a glimpse of themselves in his heartache. But he persevered and that is the key.

I have no idea what Paul experienced, but he had his eyes on eternity. Why do earthly things mean so much? In the end, they’re dust and then they’re gone. They’ll be destroyed at the Judgment Seat of Christ as worthless, empty, and having no intrinsic value at all.

I find myself at a crossroads. I am not going to lie. I would love to be able to say that I do not long for worldly success. And in these last days, this self-serving spirit of seeking personal acclaim is a beast unto itself. Looking not just at secular news items, but also at Church happenings, with prominent figures in the church battling like arch enemies, it isn’t difficult to see that the spirit of pride is hitting everyone, both in the Church and outside of the church pride does its work, slaying everything in its path. It is deadly.

So why then, knowing all that we know about the perilous last days, does the glitz and cheap glamor of this world still hold an allure? I’m afraid that the answer is that no matter how much we love Jesus Christ and the Word, even one atom of pride is like a cancer.

(2 Timothy 3:2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.

This has to be one of the most quoted verses about the end times. The whole chapter of 2nd Timothy is a mirror image of today’s society. Its words leap up from the Bible. Everywhere this is evident, and the enemy is closing in around believers like never before, seeking to tear us all apart over little things. Instead of uniting, believers are picking battles amongst themselves. This is the Last Days discord come full circle.

But this article was not meant to be a tangent directing us away from the truth that Paul presents. How did he avoid the pitfalls of pride? He had his affliction which kept him grounded. God knew that through it, Paul would lean more heavily on God to be sustained.

In looking at what Paul was able to do with his ailment it is impossible not to look inward at my own personal affliction, but also to know that what I have chosen to do with my own afflictions is vastly different from what Paul did. I have more often than not failed to heed Paul’s teachings as an example. I have been selfish when I should have sought Christ alone. I should have praised him for my weakness instead of leaning on foolish pride.

For the past 15 years I haven’t had one single day without searing, gnawing nerve pain surging through my body, starting from the top of the head all the way down. The pain so sharp and burning that I can’t find the tears to cry. I’m out of them. I haven’t had one day without a headache that feels like a hundred pound boulder is resting on my head and I have to balance it.  One wrong move and my head could literally come right off. With only mesh and little to no muscles left in the back of the head, there isn’t much holding it up.

My spinal nerves are shot, forever pulsating. It is like my entire body is on fire. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. But with this, you suffer in silence. You look fine, but you’re burning inside. I haven’t had a real hug since 1999. I can’t be touched. Every touch, breath of wind, I feel continuously. If I touch my own arm with my other hand it lingers like the hand is still pressed firmly against it. But you learn to live with it and survive.

The precise name of this problem is CRPS or Causalgia (VERY old school term). This was not meant to be a “woe is me” exercise in self-pity. But it is an examination into the helplessness that you feel when you don’t know if you are doing anything at all to further the Lord’s work. Paul did and he had a thorn in his flesh. These are the last days, what is it that you can do to further the kingdom when you feel so helpless to do anything? It’s paralyzing.

Satan uses these feelings of helplessness and self-doubt to create a hamstrung vessel. And all the while you suffer with physical pain, the lust for some earthly atonement, for personal success is ever-present.

I never suffered for lack of acclaim. I’ve had it. I’ve been there. I was a world-class swimmer in my teens. The Olympics were within a logistical shot. And a career as a world-class triathlete was right at my fingertips. Then, with one car accident and two botched surgeries I was finished, along with any chance of normal progression of life, like marriage, children, etc. It was not to happen for me.

But the taste for some vindication and the forever clutches of pride are always lingering. And the competitive drive for earthly success will not leave. It’s the monster that chases me when I’m awake and asleep. The recurring dreams about trying to finish the race and then never making it to the end. It won’t go away. And it makes me sick that I can’t move past it, just let it all go. The past still haunts with a vengeance. And it leaves you powerless to stop the onslaught.

Paul, how did he do it? Surely he had to have had some battles with God over this. We all know the story of Job too, so this constant battle to understand how God works is nothing new.

(2 Corinthians 12: 8-9) Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

My grace is sufficient for you. That’s it. No matter what happens, his ever-present grace is enough. But why can’t I understand this, even accept it? I want to be a used vessel and I know whatever effort I put out isn’t enough. But I also know that 95 percent of the time I try to do everything in my own strength and fail.

In these last days, Satan wants us to doubt, to make Christians feel weak and helpless and ultimately, too numb to feel as though we can participate in God’s will. I admit I feel all of these things every day. In this world of constant turmoil, pain, and death, it is hard to feel anything but unworthy. But at the same time, prideful.

But is there room for an unworthy vessel? We’re all unworthy. But His grace is enough. His glory is made perfect in weakness. In the end, no matter what happens on this earth, it will only be for a short time. Eternity awaits. I admit I’m eager. But until then, I know that there are no answers and that the battles we all face are the same that the Apostles fought against, and every other human being who has walked the earth.

To God Be the Glory, Great Things He Hath Done.
So Loved He The World That He Gave Us His Son.

We are to seek His glory, not our own. It’s His will, His work, and it’s not about me. Now if someone can just get this through my thick, prideful heart. I suppose I’ll have to wait until Glory.

Entry filed under: Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation.

Praise Him When There is Nothing Else You Can Do Praise Him for Everything that Comes Your Way and I DO Mean Everything

2 Comments

  • 1. Terry Farrell  |  November 13, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    God bless you Fred as you labour for Him. Thank you for who you are and what you are doing in His service. I am sure as you bare your afflictions with patience and perseverance, at the right time you will hear those longed for words, ‘Well done….’

  • 2. Sherry  |  November 12, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    God is worth worshiping, in the world’s view, when an afflicted person is healed miraculously by Him, but they really take notice when one is afflicted and worship and love God anyway.

    I used to get “depressed” thinking I hadn’t done enough for the building up of the Kingdom. No one I told the Gospel to was responding in a positive way toward that beautiful message of eternal hope. I wondered why I was even bothering to tell anyone. Then one day when I was thinking on it I just thought, God may not want me to know the impact I’ve made on these unsaved souls. And maybe all I was supposed to do was to open the door, or repeat the Gospel message, to them. Perhaps I wasn’t the one God would use to convince them but they would remember me and everyone else who prophesied their fate apart from Christ. I’m convinced God does not let any of His servants know how deep and far-reaching their service is because it would puff us up.

    I’ve said a prayer for you, Janna. Thanks for this post and God bless you~


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