Dec. 27, 2001

This simple but profound message was spoken to me just a few days ago, and I know that it has meaning for us in this hour. Ups and downs and twists and turns mark our spiritual life. We never know what a given day will bring forth to us. God has been pouring forth His Spirit to us in the form of revelation knowledge in increasing measure. Much has been given to us in this form lately. But I also know that there are many among us who have suffered many strange and unusual trials. We are plagued with financial difficulties, heartaches, and physical onslaughts of all types. Sometimes it seems as if they will never end, but God will not allow more to come our way than what we can handle. He knows our limits, and He knows our frame.

Let us be reminded by the words of Paul, as stated in 2CO 12:1:

I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. [2] I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know--God knows. [3] And I know that this man--whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows-- [4] was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. [5] I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. [6] Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.

We see that Paul had been given much in the way of revelation from God. He had been "caught-up" into the third heaven and had heard things that are inexpressible. Oftentimes, it can be difficult to express the things that God has shown us during our times of revelation with Him. But as we shall see, Paul was tested in certain ways so that his revelations would not cause him to become conceited. So God uses various means to keep us humble and dependent upon Him. Unless these things would come our way, we could very easily become proud or conceited about the things that God has shown us.

2CO 12:7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. [8] Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. [9] 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. [10] 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.

I know that there have been many countless trials in my life over the last several months and year. I致e often wondered when they would end. It seems that "patience must have its perfect work." [4] Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

God is working His very nature and character into us. He longs for His body to be complete and lacking in nothing. While we encounter many and various types of trials, we need to see that His hand is indeed, "in it." I知 not talking about the types of onslaughts that the enemy would bring into our lives. He has given us spiritual weapons for these battles. That is a different matter and one that we need to discern as well. God however, can "use all things for good for us."

Let us receive the things of His Spirit that He has freely given to us. May we share them using wisdom and freedom alike. But let us also know that while we are on the mountaintop that the valley lies below us. Very soon we will encounter many things that will test both our patience and our very hearts. This is the cycle that God uses to work His perfect will and character into the lives of His servants.


Stephen Hanson