My Fitbit watch tracks my sleep. I got 6 hours and 19 minutes of sleep last night. Not too bad. The National Sleep Foundation suggests 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night for people my age. But when I checked my sleep this morning, I was hoping it would be less, not more.
Getting rest might be the hardest thing I do each day. And I doubt I’m the only one. In a culture where productivity is praised, it’s harder than ever to rest.
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:7-10 ESV).
Shortly before writing this, the apostle Paul described a time when he was “caught up to the third heaven” (v. 2) and “heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter” (v. 4). Now, in response to those revelations, Paul talks about a thorn that keeps him humble and dependent on Christ. And that’s what I want to write about today.
Our history surrounding slavery never fails to stun me. What kind of evil man would whip another man senseless for the sake of money and power? What kind of evil man would ignore the suffering of another for the sake of keeping his own status? What kind of evil man would withhold from another man his needs in order to maintain his own luxurious lifestyle? I mean, how can so much evil and hatred fit within the human heart? These are the questions which haunt my mind. Until I realize that I’m that man.
I’ve never owned a slave. But my sin put Jesus Christ through the most dreadful torture known to man. Consider the words of the prophet Isaiah.
It’s a Tuesday night. I’m writing to you from college. It’s finals week. I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am to know this is about over. The past three and a half months have drained me emotionally. I don’t feel like writing this. Add it to my growing list of depressing columns.
I never imagined this would be my story. I always looked forward to college. It was my dream. I remember dreaming about how much better college would be than high school. A prominent Christian college in Ohio gave me $50,000. I accepted the offer. At face value, people probably thought I was content. What more could I have asked for?
Let’s examine Luke 8:41-56.
A ruler of the synagogue is struggling. Jairus is his name. His daughter occupies her death bed. His only child. Desperate. Saddened. Heartbroken.
Teary-eyed, he wonders, “What can I do?”
He has heard of Jesus. The man responsible for mending what’s broken. Healing what’s hurting. Opening blind eyes. Redeeming what appears unredeemable.