A Perfect God to Help You Cope in an Imperfect World – Part One

Philippians 4: 19

Jesus lived in an imperfect world and was subject to all of its inconveniences, isolation, hunger, and the extremity of man’s inhumanity to man: crucifixion.

We also live in an imperfect world. Our frustrations are heightened when we hear persons saying blessings, you can name it and claim it. Claim you are wealthy and you will be. Claim healing and you will be. Many try it and it doesn’t work.

A good simple test of the soundness of preaching is if it won’t preach in Bosnia, Botswana, Zaire, or Ethiopia it shouldn’t be preached here.

Can you imagine telling the impoverished hungry hoards of Ethiopia claim you are wealthy and you will be? 

Face it, there are mysteries God doesn’t choose to explain in full. He thus gives us opportunity to walk by faith, not by knowledge.

Consider healing for example.

We all want to be healthy and live in a near perfect body. It doesn’t always happen. Does that mean God doesn’t love us? NO! He does love us.

The apostle Paul was a man who loved the Lord and lived for Him. He had a major problem which he descriptively called his “thorn in the flesh.” (II Cor. 12: 7). He said he prayed three times that God would remove it. God didn’t!

A study of the Book of Galatians 4: 13, 14 reveals that he had some physical problem that was discomforting for him and distasteful for others:

“You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.”

In coming to Galatia Paul landed in Pamphylia (Acts 13: 13) and traveled through marshy mosquito infested country to get to Galatia. Paul’s thorn in the flesh may well have been a bad case of malaria resulting in seizures. 

His thorn in the flesh may have been bad eye problems. In Galatians 4: 15 he referred to the church members as being so empathetic they were willing to “pluck out your own eyes and give them to me.” In Galatians 6: 11 Paul referred to “what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!”

He wrote thanking the church for receiving him when he wasn’t a pretty sight to have around. God never removed Paul’s thorn. Yet, Paul was faithful and God was loving.

Whatever Paul’s problem he referred to it as his “trial.” The word translated “trial” can also be translated “temptation.” When applied to the work of the devil it is appropriately translated as temptation. When it relates to the work of the Lord in a life it refers to being tested in order to show God’s sufficiency and our submission. 

God used a physical trial in the life of Paul to prove Himself adequate and allow Paul to show faithfulness. Is it unreasonable to assume God may still use this technique? If so, He will show His sufficiency. Be sure to show your submission.