|“When you seek what is best for others, you are not manipulating; you are seeking to influence. This difference rests at the heart of being an ambassador for Christ.” Walter A. Henrichsen (“Walt”)
Thoughts from the Diary of a Desperate Man by Walter A Henrichsen (“Walt”)
“And I knew such a man…How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” 2 Corinthians 12:3-4
While relating his experience of being “caught up into paradise,” Paul says, “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”41 Often suffering accompanies intimacy with God. This is not to say that all that suffer are intimate with the Lord. Rather, that God ties responsibility to revelation.
Many of Paul’s experiences were extraordinary, if not miraculous. His conversion on the road to Damascus, the three years in the desert receiving personal instruction from the Lord, and this revelation mentioned in II Cor 12, are all encounters with God that the average follower of Christ never has. So too Paul was called to a life of severe hardship. He had just ticked off a list of such difficulties in the preceding verses: “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeying& often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren.42 The extraordinary revelations were accompanied by extraordinary suffering.
You may never be called upon to emulate Paul in his hardships, and probably will never reach his heights of ecstasy with the Lord. The special revelations prepared him for the special suffering.
Nevertheless, his experience does bring you to the “valley of decision.”43 If you covet those encounters with God where He reveals Himself in special ways, are you willing to bear the cross that often accompanies them?
41 II Corinthians 12:7
Exodus 21-22 Matthew 19 (New King James Version)
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Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in Prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Psalm 91:2
Devote yourselves to Prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The Prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
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