"God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain, but without stain."
A brown spot on an otherwise sterling white sink was noticeable at first glance. Thus, bleach was applied, along with other resources available in my little storage cubby where household cleansers are kept. I scrubbed, agitated, soaked. With an assortment of measures, which failed to remove the eyesore, I diligently spent time and energy, passionately pursuing a spotless kitchen sink. The blot ultimately began to wane. Bit by bit, it faded, yet still with relentless refusal, it barely clung to life, as if defiantly saying, "I will not be removed." But with time and relentless effort, I realized hope was ebbing for the blemish, and at last, the beauty of the sink would be restored.
Is our walk with Christ not likewise? We may have failures, shortcomings, mistakes, regrets. Spots. Stains. Scars that remain from our human frailties and sins. We read God's word and stand on his promises. Believe. Hope. Pray. With diligence. Until our own efforts leave us exhausted, frustrated, and confused.
No amount of human effort seems to relieve us of what remains of a long forgiven wrong. Perhaps we live with consequences of regrettable decisions, poor choices from our past. Perhaps we carry with us wounds from the offense of another. Or perhaps we are plagued with needless guilt and mindless reason. And the eyesore in our hearts stubbornly remains, refusing to be relinquished.
The old hymn "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing" by Charles Wesley is one of glorious praise. It is beautiful music, with words that penetrate the soul, and, I believe, they are divinely inspired. The fourth verse raptures me each time I hear it.
He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.
It's so true. Canceled sin, the past, can have power over our lives. But Jesus Christ can break that power, setting us free from whatever torments our minds and souls. His blood is beyond sufficiency. And it transforms our lives without any effort from us. Even those spots, the remaining scars of disobedience, He can dissolve, can heal, can blot out, restoring our beauty in Christ, giving us new life and new hope that is lived in freedom and joy.
Our lives are not like our computer programs. We cannot edit, deleting items we no longer need or deem valuable. No, we cannot change past decisions. We all have things we would "undo" or "cut" or "edit." But herein is God's grace greatly revealed.
The apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh. What it was we do not know. But we do know that his response teaches us of the bottomless well of God's grace. After seeking the Lord to remove this "thorn," God's response was "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." And Paul stated that he would, rather than allowing this thorn to torment him, glory in his "infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
To turn his weakness into strength was the apostle's choice. As it is ours. Yes, Christ can break the power of canceled sin, he can remove the nagging stains, and he can most assuredly give us grace sufficient to live with remaining weaknesses or painful memories. Do not hesitate to trust him today to take care of your frailties. Christ, our redeemer, our Lord, is waiting, ready, more than able to meet with you, and as you call on him, he will treat you with utmost care and lovingly restore you and give you grace sufficient.
Scripture from II Corinthians 12: 7 - 10