This is the first of what I hope will be many letters that I write you in the days to come. I hope to share some things with you that I am learning along the way and that will be helpful to you in the days to come.
So… last night I had a kidney stone attack. It was very different from the 3 other attacks that I have had. They all landed me in the hospital. This one did not. I had about 5 hours of fairly intense pain and then was able to pass it. You can ask your parents about what that actually means.
A Scripture passage that always comes to mind when I deal with kidney stones is 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 which says…
7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I am pretty convinced that the Apostle Paul also dealt with kidney stones. Certainly his experience here parallels mine: 1) he was given a thorn in the flesh, 2) he felt harassed by the enemy of our souls, 3) he pleaded with God for it to leave him.
But I was reminded again last night of the promise that is embedded in these verses – that God’s grace is sufficient for me. This is a promise that you will want to cling to in the years to come. I promise that you will face difficult days as you grow up. Sometimes life can be very harsh and hard. Sometimes you will feel lonely and isolated. Sometimes you will experience intense physical and emotional and relational pain.
During these times it will be tempting to feel like God has abandoned you. But He has not. This much I can tell you from experience. And His grace is ALWAYS sufficient. His power is ALWAYS perfected in my weaknesses. His strength is ALWAYS enough to get me through. His peace is ALWAYS abundant and plenteous enough to fuel me in the midst of a crazy and chaotic world. Cling to Him – the only One who makes life bearable when it feels unbearable.
And never ever forget that you are very loved,