Do you have heroes? Someone you really respect? Are there people who have been role models in your life? Probably. These are the people who have helped shape our lives. Now turn it around and think about your life. Have you been a role model for other people? Either way, it very difficult to see someone like that seeming to suffer from a sense of failure and low self esteem.
MY STORY: Oh yes! I’ve had one and only one person that I would call an enemy in my life. She was very high up in the government at the time. Her assistant and I watched her enjoy destroying people. When she turned her evil intentions on me, I thought I would be destroyed, too. No one had ever stood up to her. I began journaling everything. . . I mean everything! Her assistant did, too. I thought I was failing the test in every way possible. But there was an observer. We’ll call her Salley. Salley watched.
The base commander came to my aid to get my Top Secret clearance approved. So did the Wing Commander. Both godly Christian men. Of course, my supervisor didn’t know they were also very good friends of ours. My union representative was very helpful. He suggested the journaling. But even so, I was feeling justly persecuted and I felt like a total failure even when I wom! I took those journaling notes into the meeting with the Commander of Personal on the base. Toward the end of the meeting, my supervisor stood up and began screaming, “But she has boxes under her desk! She has boxes under her desk!” Over and over and over! The Commander stood up and said, ” Kathy, I think I get the picture.” When my supervisor left, he looked at me and said, “I’ll get you out of there.” He did and into a wonderful jjob, too!
The observer, you ask? What happened to her? Well, a few years later, Chris received a call from her to do her husband’s funeral. Since we didn’t have much connection with them he asked why. She said, “because of the way way Kathy handled the situation with our supervisor. WOW! Pooh. . . Wow! I had no idea. Today she and her family are very active in church. But I couldn’t see it. When God is working you may not feel it, see, understand it or ever be aware of it.
(Yes, I know, I’ve told it before)
.THERE ARE NO SUPER HEROES
The Apostle Paul is one of my heroes. Below is a verse he wrote at a low point in his life. We talked last time about how our suffering can help other people and their suffering can help us. Paul is such a huge character in the New Testament! He looms over nearly all others in his sufferering for Jesus, his total committment, his complete Spirit-filled life, his union with Jesus, that is spiritual maturity lived as a life of LOVE. And, of course, his colossal suffering. Just listen to what he says about it himself.
“Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.” 2 Corinthians 11:23-26
But I cannot relate to all that. it buries me in heroism that comes very, very near to a super hero. No! I am drawn here to this verse. . .
VERSE FOR TODAY
2 Corinthians 13:7–9
But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.
“. . . though we seem to have failed.” There it is! FAILURE! And before that horrible admission he says, “. . . not that we appear to have met the test.” Have you ever failed a test? College exam? An entrance exam? A professional final? It can be devasting But Paul is talking about life and death here. Eternal life and death. Failure, he thinks, to bring them to maturity. Big stuff, but still I can see myself here. my failures, or things in my life that I think were failures. But as IS his habit to, as he turns his weakness into a plus. He prays for the them. He cannot see any way out for them or for himself but still he prays.
Earlier in this final farewell to the Corinthian Church Paul called on his hero, Jesus. He said
“You who have been demanding proof that Christ speaks through me, well you will get more than you bargained for. You’ll get the full force of Christ, don’t think you won’t. He was sheer weakness and humiliation when he was killed on the cross, but oh, he’s alive now—in the mighty power of God! We weren’t much to look at, either, when we were humiliated among you, but when we deal with you this next time, we’ll be alive in Christ, strengthened by God.” 2 Corinthiansb13 (MSG)
When he comes to them it will be to severely discipline some believers who just won’t get with the program. Paul, as their leader and teacher feels very responsible for their failure. See how He even sees failure in his appearance. Fear of failure and low self esteem affect how we see ourselves. He trusts now in the power of God to work though he cannot see it now. Neither can we at such times. Ohhh . . . how I can relate to this.
Trust can be hard when we can’t see ahead. It’s like driving in dense fog. but the road goes ever on and on. . .