Neighbors for Neighbors

Do stuff with and for your neighbors

We are all about convenience ... aren't we?  Wouldn't you rather have boneless chicken?  (You can even buy boneless chicken wings.)  And, how about fish - do you want to pick through all those bones?  We want all the "meat" without the "bones."  But, life doesn't really work that way.  Chickens need bones to stand up, and fish need bones to support their lives under the sea.
The texture of life is often found in the bones of our experiences.  Life doesn't really suit our conveniences.  It often happens when we least expect it; and it is usually deepest and richest when it involves, struggles, challenges, weakness and suffering.  Ask anyone to recount the times in their lives when they have most powerfully experienced God, and most likely you will hear tales of when they faced tremendous hardships - when great provisions or lessons emerged from the ashes.
The apostle Peter wrote, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you." (1 Peter 4:12)  We never seek it, but suffering (in all kinds of forms) is part of life.  It is the "bones" or skeletal structure that produces strength, depth and perseverance.  The "bones" cause us to call out to God and rely on Him - and this is where real life is usually found.
The apostle Paul, like all of us, pleaded with God to deliver him from the "bones" of his existence - a chronic "thorn in his flesh" that he could not shake.  Yet, in the midst of his prayers he sensed God say, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)  Paul pondered this, and he grasped a powerful Kingdom principle.  He realized that if Christ's power is made manifest in the "bones" of life, he would start to receive, relish and even rejoice and boast in his "bones" and his own weaknesses.  He discovered a spiritual axiom and wrote, "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." (1 Corinthians 12:10)
God makes us strong when we need His strength to flow through us.  If you want to see His power, you probably will need to experience times of weakness that His power can fill.  If you want to see His wisdom, you will need to face confusion; if you want His comfort, you will need to face discomfort.  It is in the hardships of life that God most often shows up.  So, don't look for a boneless, easy life.  Receive all of life - especially the hard parts, and look for God amidst the bones.

Learning to rejoice in the Bones with you,
Pastor Tom

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