One summer, on my way to clean up after weeding, I yanked up a dead shrub. Suddenly, all of my limbs were stinging. To my horror, I saw yellow jackets glued to my legs. When they wouldn’t let go, I wondered if I was going to die!
After that experience, I considered wearing winter ski garb when gardening. But our southern heat and humidity quickly changed my mind. I’d like a Teflon cream you could apply like sunscreen that would protect you from stinging bugs and poison ivy!
Early in my Christian walk, I thought mature faith worked like a Teflon coating. I figured hurts, disappointments, and insults would ping off sound faith. While God has provided spiritual armor for us, I no longer believe the Teflon Christian is biblical or desirable.
The Apostle Paul was not Teflon-coated. He felt the stings of life. He made sure the Corinthians knew the great pressures that caused him to despair even of life (2 Corinthians 1:8). “For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears” (2 Corinthians 2:4 NIV). He even cataloged many of his physical and emotional sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11:23-29.
Going through suffering is how he came to know “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3 NASB). Only those who acknowledge their hurts and weaknesses are able to receive comfort.
Mama died when I was a teenager. Our family never talked about how ill she was. Continue Reading