Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Outlook (06/02/11)
TITLE: Be Content
By Adele Butler
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"Then one day, I heard that small still voice which I knew was God's. I couldn't ignore it. I had to listen. He said, 'My grace is sufficient for you.' I sat there, wondering why He said that. Then I thought back to the times when I begged Him to give me back the use of my legs. I begged Him to prove the doctors wrong, after all He was Almighty God and nothing was impossible for Him. He could raise the dead. But nothing happened. I couldn't feel my legs. I was stuck in this contraption. For days, weeks, I sat in my chair, replaying the accident in my mind and wondering why God didn't prevent it or why He didn't answer my pleas.
"Just when I had given up on Him, He spoke to me that morning as I sat in my room and stared blankly out of the window, feeling my resentment grow as I watched people hurrying back. It seemed unfair that they could walk and I couldn't. After God told me that His grace was sufficient for me, I turned from the window and wheeled the chair over to the bedside table where I kept my Bible. I took it out of the drawer and searched for the scripture where God had said the same thing to the apostle Paul. Three times Paul begged God to remove the thorn from his flesh and each time God said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.'
"I thought of my own situation. My thorn was my inability to walk. I felt helpless until I read what Paul said after he realized that his prayer was not going to be answered. 'So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong' (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10, NLT).
"My mind started racing. How could I take pleasure in not being able to walk? Then, this revelation came to me, 'You don't need the use of your legs in order to walk with Christ.' I realized that I had allowed the wheelchair to become my prison. I had allowed my physical condition to imprison my spirit and in doing so I was preventing God from working in and through me. I had allowed anger and bitterness to cripple me emotionally and spiritually. The problem wasn't my inability to walk, it was my inability to see that I could still be of some use to God. Some Bible scholars believe that Paul's thorn was weak eye-sight. Whatever it was, it was not a handicap because God was able to do wonderful things through Paul.
He used Paul to heal, teach the Gospel to unbelievers and to encourage believers. I believe God spared my life for a reason. My car was so badly damaged that it was a miracle I survived. The driver of the other car wasn't so lucky. Bit by bit, my attitude changed and I began to see things differently. When Jesus comes again to receive us to Him I will not have this body anymore. I will be transformed from mortality to immortality.' Until then, I will use the parts of me that still work to serve the Lord.
"I no longer see myself as a cripple but as a conduit through which the power of God can flow. It is by His grace that I am here this morning sharing my story with you. Like Paul I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am in."
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