I’ve had it all wrong.
Many well-meaning motivational speakers, best-selling authors, teachers, and preachers have had it wrong.
Let me explain.
I live with the threat of clinical depression crushing me at any moment. I pray, meditate on Scripture, experience community, take medication, see a therapist, eat clean, exercise, and do my best to get plenty of sleep, but nothing is a guarantee.
In the meantime, anxiety is the war.
I’m not alone.
Anxiety seems to be the top issue most people face today.
I don’t speak as a scientist here but as a pastor. I have conversations, get asked questions, receive emails, have requests for prayer, and get invites to speak on that very topic. There are more articles online about the subject than you can shake the proverbial stick at.
Many people feel defeated by the thought that they should have victory over anxiety, but don’t, and can’t. They question God because they pray hard without any glimmer of deliverance. And then feel guilty about it all. So they resign themselves to live in those awful realities.
I’ve been there.
Let me set you free.
You may never have victory over anxiety.
But you can have victory WITH anxiety.
Don’t take my word for it.
“So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
I spoke at an event recently with the theme “Move Forward in Victory.” I loved that theme. Right before I got up to speak, the thought hit me: “Sometimes the victory is just in the moving forward!”
That’s what Paul is saying. He pleaded with God to take his “anything but this!” thorn away.
Ever been there?
Then he rests in knowing God will not give him victory over his thorn but will give him victory to live with it, move forward in it, minister to others with it being sort of his superpower if you will.
I love how we don’t know what his thorn is too. It could have been his eye problem, false prophets who attacked him, or something psychological. Either way, the Lord left it open so we could apply it to our own personal “thorn.”
Notice how Paul understood the thorn would remain to keep him humble and dependent upon God’s grace. I’ve thought about that a lot for my own life.
It’s as if God reminds me: “Jarrod, do you realize what a punk you’d be if I gave you victory over your thorn? Do you know that you might walk away from me without it? Do you realize how you might give into more temptations, depend upon your own strength, mislead and harm others in arrogance if I gave you victory over your thorn? No son, I love you too much to give you victory over it, but I’ll miraculously give you victory to live with it, to be stronger for it, and to be a greater vessel to others for my glory and their joy.”
Perhaps God has similar words for you.
So hear ye, hear ye.
Despite all the wrong messages you have heard about “victory over…”, including that same message from yours truly perhaps, embrace this promise: You don’t have to have victory over your thorn. You have something even greater, a superpower—victory WITH your thorn through the personal grace of God.