Pastor's Message Notes for the July 12th sermon based on 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
We spend so much of our lives trying to get comfortable. We love for things to feel just right—not too hot, not too cold; not too big, not too small; not too hard, not too soft—yes, we want things to be “just right.” We spend thousands of dollars each year to make sure that our homes are at a comfortable temperature with all the commodities we need. We like to wear clothes that fit just right, without restricting our movement or weighing us down; we like to be comfortable. From our very first beds, and even to our very last, we like to lie down on what is plush, posh, pillowy and, yes, comfortable. We spend so much of our lives getting comfortable.
The reason why we try so hard to get comfortable in life is because so much of life is uncomfortable. There are different aches and pains that come with every stage of life. From the heart-wrenching cries of the infant to the heart-broken sigh of the teenager to the heart-stopping gasp of the aged, our lives are filled with pain. We fight back that pain with every heartbeat and breath, all to be comfortable. Our basic instinct is to avoid pain at all costs. If we were left to ourselves, our sinful nature would choose pleasure over pain each and every time; we’d choose to be comfortable.
The funny thing is, God doesn’t always want people to be comfortable. In fact, quite often He wants the lives of His people to be uncomfortable. Paul learned that lesson firsthand. The Lord gave Paul “a thorn in the flesh,” what he called “a messenger of Satan,” to torment him. God had a special purpose with that pain: to keep the Apostle from pride. Paul felt the sharp sting of the thorns so acutely that it drove him to his knees and to his God three times. Three times he pleaded with the Lord to pluck those thorns out, yet the Lord had but one, lone, solitary answer:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
There are times when we put our own comforts ahead of God’s will and He teaches an important lesson, how ever painful it may be: it is only when we despair of our own strength that we find God’s strength. It is only when we realize just how shocking our weakness is that we learn to trust the power of God. It is then, and only then, that we learn the truth Paul did: “When I am weak, then I am strong.”
First Lesson: Ezekiel 2:1-3:4
Second Lesson: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Gospel: Mark 6:1-6