“Instead of focusing on your thorns, allow the fragrance that emanates from the hope you have in Christ to wash over you. Embrace your struggle as a gift from God . . .”- Charles Swindoll
“Now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)
Charles Swindoll concludes Chapter 7 of What If . . . God Has Other Plans? as he offers hope in the form of three suggestions. Pastor Swindoll believes these thoughts may help turn y our mind and heart to the mind of Christ.
1. Look Up. God desires that you rely completely on Him. In addition, He wants you to experience the wonder of His all-sufficient grace and power. Also, He has a plan way beyond your ability to comprehend. However, that plan:
- frees you from bitterness or the belief that you’re the victim of happenstance
- delivers you from a constant ‘if only’ or what if’ mentality
- releases you from the paralyzing effects of searching for a scapegoat for your punishment and pain
2. Look Within. View your struggle as your friend, not your enemy. Understanding this provides gracious relief. And, it teaches you new dimensions of His love. Above all, Pastor Swindoll exhorts, as you begin to think this way, an unexplainable joy replaces all hints of self-pity. As a result, you full embrace your weakness.
3. Look Beyond. Lift your stare from the current thorns. Instead, Pastor Swindoll urges, focus on the current fragrance. Consequently, consider the fragrant blooms on a rose bush. Enveloped in that fragrance, the aroma diminishes your anguish. Because of the beautiful smell all around you, you’ll rarely notice the thorns.
Today’s question: What Bible verses help you smell the fragrance the emanates from hope in Christ? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Original blessing- original sin”
Note: Although Pastor Swindoll’s book consists of 11 chapters, I feel the first seven are most applicable to downsized workers. Thus, I now move on to Mark Batterson’s latest book.