For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. (2 Corinthians 5)
I used to struggle a lot with depression, with anxiety, and with fear. One morning, early, while everyone was still asleep; I went out to my yard to talk to God about this. I prayed and asked him, “God, why haven’t you healed me of this anxiety disorder? I can’t serve you well like this. I’m such a mess myself, how can I possibly help others. So much of my life is spent just keeping my mind on task. Please deliver me! Or please show me why You haven’t.”
I sensed the Lord showing me that morning through the above quoted Scripture, which I happen to be reading while out at the table, that God had a plan even for the struggle in my mind. This Scripture reveals to us, that while we are on this earth we groan because we long to be clothed with our dwelling, or our clothing from heaven. For we know that when we are thus clothed, we will not be found naked, vulnerable, exposed. It is normal not to want to feel exposed, to have our weaknesses seen by others. But it is my experience that God uses these very weaknesses, that we are so ashamed of, these broken places, these scars, if you will, to reach a broken, scarred and weak world, with the message of our Savior. If I need to be broken, exposed, weak and fragile, in order for people to see Jesus work in my life, and through my life; then I choose weakness. Sometimes we pray, and God does answer. But not the way we want or expect; not the way we think we need it answered.
“8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12)
It was a very long time ago, that I prayed to have these weaknesses removed from my life. God has never chosen to answer that prayer, the way I wanted Him to. But He has used my weakness, to drive me to the word of God. He has used this struggle with fear and anxiety, to make me strong and wise in the word of God. He has led me to minister to many people who struggle with the same affliction. How could I possibly have ever led people, helped people, reached people in need; if I had never been there myself. Only those who struggle with this affliction can possibly understand it. So I, like the apostle Paul, am now well content with weaknesses, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, God is strong through me. And that is truly what life is all about.
6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8 we are of good courage. (2 Cor. 5)