Thiis month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from Hristo Kulichev (Bulgarian, imprisoned and exiled for almost four years for his faith in Jesus Christ), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. (2 Corinthians 12:10a)
These words sound strange, if not foolish in the ears of carnal man. People seek happiness and pleasure. Who wants to find that in suffering? Is it possible that someone could be happy in infirmities, in reproaches, in persecution or insults? Those who seek fulfilment of life in pleasure will always be dissatisfied. But when the meaning of life is serving Christ, then everything we do or endure will give us pleasure. Whether we are reproached or persecuted, we will rejoice because through it we can show our love for Him. And this would be the greatest pleasure for us. It will be a pleasure for us when people reproach us, or call us old-fashioned, or when they mock at us because we do not conform to this world. Any attack by the devil will be considered as a mark of true discipleship.
We delight in weakness. We accept the fact that we seem to be the most vulnerable, but we claim God's promise: "When I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10b). Because "My power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). The weaker we are--the stronger He becomes. The more helpless we feel--the greater Helper He becomes. What a mighty God we serve!
A moment of introspection: "What a mighty God We Serve!" How we have sung that chorus gladly and joyfully in our worship services. Yet, as Paul Harvey was wont to say, we need to consider "the rest of the story." In John 3:30, the herald of Christ rightly said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." Think of it--Christ granted His rightful place in our lives: He being strong as we draw our strength from Him. (1 Timothy 1:12). Therein lies the paradox--we are strong in the Lord and in Him alone. In another way of saying it, we are weak but He is strong. And in that truth, we have sung, "Yes, Jesus loves me; the Bible tells me so." Today--in this hour, in this moment--recognize your weakness and seek strength through Jesus Christ our Lord. In our weakness, we find meaning and fulfilment in serving God. We find strength for the road ahead in Christ and in His glad service, as He empowers us to face the unknown perils of our individual and corporate future. Whether our future holds reproach, persecution, insults, or infirmities, we can be joyful because we know the One Who holds the future, and He has promised true believers hope and a future (in Jeremiah 29:11). In John Bunyan's Book, A Pilgrim's Progress, the author describes the journey toward the Celestial City to be frought with dangers and trials. Yet Christian is asked to keep his focus and his choices along the journey centered on his divine goal.
Do we want pleasure? Find it in service to Christ. Do we seek happiness? Commune closely with Him and serve Him gladly. Hristo Kulichev avers "...when the meaning of life is serving Christ, then everything we do or endure will give us pleasure. Whether we are reproached or persecuted, we will rejoice because through it we can show our love for Him. And this would be the greatest pleasure for us." We who have chosen not to "keep up with the Jones" or not to conform to this world will find others' reproach for us and their mocking at us will elicit pleasure in us--as signals within us that we have the mark of true discipleship. For us as Christians, bearing the mark of true discipleship, we will echo Mr. Kulichev's affirmation: for us, "...the meaning of life is serving Christ." Let us seek to show our love for Christ and, as the Bible adjures us, to endure!