Staying the Course

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” – 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

For the last few months, this space has been outlining a plan for getting out and staying out of consumer debt.  Depending on how much debt you have, the process may take some time.  For me, digging out of $20,000 of credit card debt took nearly five years.  In the midst of that journey, even though I knew I was making progress, there were times when I was deeply discouraged.  A turning point came when I read about the apostle Paul’s “thorn” during my first-ever Bible study.

It was God’s response to Paul—“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”—that helped me see a greater purpose for what I was going through.  I realized that in my weakness God was molding my heart.  He was teaching me how to follow him, how to trust him.  And he was showing me that my value does not depend on how much money I have or what I own.

Understanding that God was using that difficult time in my life for a greater purpose was very encouraging.  Soon I began doing volunteer work, helping others with their financial issues.  The joy I experienced from that work led me to an emotion I never thought I’d associate with my debt: gratitude.

So, what is it for you?  How do you sense God using your situation?  Is it about developing more trust?  Patience?  Forgiveness?  Look for the greater purpose God has for you in the midst of whatever trial you face, and I believe you will find a significant source of encouragement to sustain you through your journey.  I believe you’ll see with fresh eyes that God’s grace is more than sufficient.

Next month: The key to staying out of debt forever.

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