By Pastor Shana Wise
Isaiah 55: 8-10 (NKJV)
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, 11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Romans 8:26-30 (NIV)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
2 Corinthians 12:6-12 (NIV)
(Paul’s Vision and His Thorn)
Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
There will be times in our lives when all of us will have to “go through” something. Life’s hardships and unexplained situations/circumstances can bring us to the point of asking these questions like this:
Why am I going through this?
Will this hurt or pain ever go away?
When will my present situation look like what your Word promised to me?
How long do I have to keep going through this?
I believe in God but it does not seem like he sees or hears me?
Examples of some of these hardships could be:
Long term struggle with something (addiction, relationships, poverty, debt, joblessness, marital problems, self-esteem, poor decision making, illness, loss (personal or tangible), etc.
We will all come to the crossroads of our faith being tested through the issues of life’s challenges.
The message today is to encourage us to remember the God we serve despite the hardships we face. God is in control and He is always working behind the scenes of our lives-weather it seems like it or not. Malcolm X once quoted, “by any means necessary”, referred to doing whatever it takes (good or bad) to get a certain result (in his case equal rights for blacks in America back in the 1960s). The God we serve works on a “by any means necessary” statue as well-but the difference is the God is Holy. God wants the best for all his children, and he knows how to manipulate different situations and circumstances in our lives to get our attention. Furthermore, His intention through whatever we go through (good or bad) is to bring us to another place in His Word (glory to glory). Let us examine how God used Paul’s “thorn in the side”, to shift his focus from petition to praise.
God does not operate on our level of thinking (Isaiah 55:8-10)
· God’s mind rests in a place of eternity. This eternal place is a place of purity, peace, serenity, and holiness. Sin cannot be found where God is, therefore the thought processes of God are without blemish. Since he is the creator, and the all-knowing God, his way of doing things are far beyond our earthly comprehension.
· God operates according to His Word. The Word of God is holy and intentional and because of this, it shows up in our lives inis ways we do not always understand or can comprehend.
· Due to God’s way of doing things (that contradicts our way), we must have faith to even begin to understand what He is trying to do in our lives. Even when we think we have things figured out, God has a way of still showing us that He is still in control and we do not know everything. “Humble pie” will be served to all of us at various points of our lives.
· Faith requires us to give up our way of viewing the happenings of our life and look at them from His perspective. This is what I call “Eagles View”. Eagles fly and soar high, more so than any other bird, and because of this they have a different perspective of their view.
God is working it out despite our weaknesses (Romans 8:26-30)
· Every Christian can quote Rom. 8:28, but do we remember the verses that come before and after that verse? The Spirit helps us with our weaknesses…comes before all things are working out for our good…then…. for those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
· God is working things out for us despite, us. He has sent his Holy Spirit to lead, guide, comfort, and intercede on our behalf. No matter what is going on in our lives God is still going to get the glory. He left his Holy Spirit here for us to keep us on track for the plan he has for our life.
· We must remember in the most difficult times of our lives that God has chosen us for a purpose and that he has equipped us to endure until the end (And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified).
God is bringing us from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 12:6-12)
· Paul moved from petition to praise through his thorn in the flesh.
· The aliment/issue/torment that Paul was dealing with drove him to:
1) Humble himself (through the revelation of God)
2) Petition/Pray (from his current situation)
3) Get another word/revelation from Jesus (my grace is sufficient)
4) Change his perspective on his current situation (Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me).
5) Praise God with the fruit of strength exchange
· Moving from glory to glory means to see Christ in whatever you are going through. No matter what it seems like, we can acknowledge God through it.
· Our walk with Christ is not about how much we get we go through, or how much we do right vs. wrong, walking with Christ looks like trusting him no matter what we are facing or dealing with.
· God is using everything in our lives to bring us to a deeper place in His Word.
· God loves us so much that he sent his son to die for us. Our belief in this gets us through the next chapter of our lives with grace and peace.
· Accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior gives us a new outlook on life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. God is always doing a new thing in our life through Christ and we must remember this when we are going through.
About the Author
Dr. Shana Wise is an ordained Pastor and CEO of Wise Choice Ministries (est. 2016). She is the founder of The Well Christian Women’s Network formally known as Christian Women Preachers United. Dr. Wise is the author of women’s devotional, Acts of Intercession, and The Impact of Your Election (available on Amazon). She received a doctor of divinity degree in 2019 from St. Thomas Christian University. Her passion is to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, equip others to apply the Word to their lives, and demonstrate the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. She is a televangelist that appears on social media outlets and television. Shana is married to Ron Wise and is the mother of four children.