The other day, on the way to church, there was a heavy fog when I left my home. I literally couldn’t see more than 30 feet in any direction. The fog was so thick as I was coming up the road that I had my windshield wipers on full blast and both side windows were down in an attempt to help me gain some additional visibility. At one point, I realized I was drifting a little too close to the curb and later a parked car on the side of the street seemed to materialize out of nowhere.
I found myself driving much more carefully, I slowed down well below the speed limit, and I was far less self-assured in my driving skills. I’ve been driving for decades and yet driving in a deep fog actually reminded me of what it felt like to be a brand new driver—it felt humbling.
Paul knew what it felt like to have the right pedigree and credentials. He knew what it felt like to have such an intimate walk with the Lord that he had the privilege of receiving the gospel from Jesus Christ and to even be shown a glimpse of heaven! The flesh in any mortal man might swell with confidence in such revelations and impressive background. So Paul tells us in Second Corinthians 12:7, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.”
Have you ever been buffeted? Imagine someone striking you with their fist—it’s humbling to say the least. Paul’s thorn in the flesh was designed to remind him of his dependence on God and not on himself. In other words, his weakness was meant to keep him humble.
Sometimes, we can have a difficult time accepting that God knows what is best for us. As Christians, we have no problem agreeing with that truth intellectually, but when it comes to accepting specific circumstances, we struggle. Why did I lose my job? Why did my spouse leave me? Why am I sick? These are all genuine, heartfelt questions and I believe God is gracious with us when we ask, but what we sometimes forget in our specific circumstance is that He is teaching us something.
Today, when the fog falls, let’s embrace God’s ways of keeping us humbly dependent on Him. It may not always be easy, but we must stand on the truth that our heavenly Father knows what is best for us, no matter the circumstance.