In Weakness, Fear, and Trembling

Today is Valentine’s, and everyone is blogging about one of three things:

1. his or her significant other

2. his or her lack of a significant other

3. his or her unique approach in not talking about either #1 or #2

In any case, it’s Valentine’s. I’m ashamed to say I fall in the 3rd category. But I’m not ashamed, because this reminder has been good for me.

In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul reveals how he and the Corinthian church first met. Paul was weak from the physical and mental hardships he had been put through by his persecutors. He trembled, and feared…..but not because of the Corinthians, or his enemies. Yes, he had been put through some grinders, and those Pharisees were hot on his trail, but Paul trembles and fears the might of the God who is leading him more than the sufferings that trail along behind Him.

Of course, Paul was human too. He felt his own fear and the suffering acutely. But this did not stop him! His inability to get a coherent word out of his mouth (verse 3) or his foolish, jumbled speech did not stop him from telling the gospel to those Corinthians straight.  Paul confronts the people of one of the most religiously depraved cities this side of the continent, makes no effort to hide the fatigue in his bones and the absolute wreck that is his mind, because he knows: God’s in control.

And it works. The Corinthians come to know the Lord. I’m sure that the entire city didn’t just up and convert overnight. But some did. The audience of Paul’s letter here, they are the ones who came to believe in Jesus as their Lord, not because they were impressed by how good the Gospel sounded coming from this smart guy named Paul. No, it’s because God allowed them to see the beauty and love of the Gospel right through the Paul’s exhausted speech.

Missionaries go out when they have had enough training and have been spiritually prepared through personal devotionals, a thousand prayers both from their own hearts and the hearts of a 10,000-strong congregation, and handbooks that prepare them for the cultural differences to come. But Paul had none of these and he still managed to start the first Christian boom. His faith was solid, and God never fails. I may be weak, and I may fear man, but more so do I fear the Lord and tremble in His presence. And even more so is He able to convert one or a thousand through the stuttering words of some random dude, if He chooses to do so.

Now there is a general who can make the most of His soldiers, even the frailest one.

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