Kneeling down in the dark room he felt that familiar pang. He began to mutter the name of Jesus, but he was distracted by the discomfort. He winced as he wiped sweat from his brow and redoubled his efforts in prayer, but he was distracted, troubled. Preaching in the synagogue he had proclaimed that Jesus was God wrapped in flesh. He had preached about a God that was a healer and about a risen Savior. But why hadn’t God brought relief? Why hadn’t God changed this circumstance in his life? Where was his miracle?
Two construction hands knocked off for lunch and caught a seat on a stack of scaffolding adjacent to where they had been working. Unfolding their lunches, the first worker proclaimed, “Ah man, bologna again.” The second worker looking at the man’s sandwich said, “If you don’t like bologna have your wife fix you something else.” The first worker sighed and said, “I fix my own lunches.” Change can be difficult. Dispelling the darkness by ourselves is impossible.
The apostle sought after God about this difficult thing in his life. Finally, Paul wrote in II Corinthians 12:8-9 “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee…” He continued writing in 12:10 “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities…for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
A bar shutdown and the building was put up for sale. The local church decided to purchase the property but after having purchased the property – they allowed it to sit vacant for years. A Jukebox still sat in the corner. Barstools covered with dust rested in their same places. Pool tables went undisturbed. Being redeemed but not converted won’t work. Until the church made renovations, it was still a bar. Grace is not flabby. It’s not a pass. God wants to make the necessary renovations to turn your life into something beautiful. Grace is more stringent than the law. Its more Holy Ghost that is needed not more honky-tonk.
If you aren’t broken, you’ll never know what it means to be fixed. Paul realized there was an advantage to his adversity. He understood that God was doing something greater in his life and the manifold grace of God was being unveiled through this thing – this thing that was meant to be a distraction, a handicap, a hinderance. It wasn’t his plan, but he knew that God was about to show out.
We didn’t find God. God found us. Ezekiel 16:4-5 NIV “On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean…No one looked on you with pity or had compassion…you were thrown out into an open field…” But Ezekiel 16:6 says “Then I passed by…and I said to you Live!” God can bring life, hope and peace into your world. Don’t despair in your current circumstances because there is advantage in your adversity.
John 9:1-3 “And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest…”
A few verses later Jesus spat upon the ground and made mud. He rubbed this mud upon the blind man’s eyes. The blind man returned home seeing. It had puzzled me for years why God used spit and dirt to heal this man. Why did the man have to go and wash in the pool? Dirt is representative of humanity. Water represents the Spirit. When we bring God our dirt, He pours out himself into our lives and a miracle takes place.
I’m praying this week that God turns your adversity into an advantage. Bring him your dirt, bring him your humanity, allow God to enlighten your world. Also know this, spit has always been indicative of an insult, God is able for you that are hurting – carrying an insult from your past around– to change it and create a miracle.