BY JOHN EDMUND HAGGAI
Suppose you’re in an operating room awaiting surgery. The nurse has just given you a sedative. Suddenly you catch a glimpse of the surgeon. He’s in the corner of the room, wringing his hands. His face expresses his agony. His body language exudes distress.
You hear him quietly saying, “Oh, I don’t know why I took on this responsibility. I’m just not up to it. I hope I can get through it.”
At this point, you would probably try to shake off the sedative and bolt out of the room! No one wants to be cut open by a surgeon who lacks confidence. That surgeon has the necessary training — but he needs to believe in his ability to perform his duty. He needs confidence to be successful. You do, too.
Even when you face obstacles, confidence in God is what makes you effective. Apostle Paul gave a great example of this confidence when he wrote in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This verse is literally translated as: “I am almighty in the One who continually keeps pouring His power in me.”
When You Can’t, You Can
Paul didn’t write these words in the air-conditioned comfort of an apartment atop one of Rome’s seven hills. Paul was in prison. By today’s standards, Mamertine Prison (Paul’s prison) would be considered inhumane. Unlike modern prisons, it didn’t have peppermint-striped sheets, color television, or fitness centers.
The Romans had banished Paul to a dreaded dark cell. They thought these conditions were a greater punishment than death. Paul could have whined, “How can I accomplish anything here? Surely, the Lord knows that I am immobilized by my imprisonment.” Instead, despite his surroundings, Paul said, “I am almighty.”
We know that the apostle could not study his beloved books and parchments. We know that Timothy could not visit him. Nevertheless, Paul spoke with joyous confidence: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). He said, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Compared to this, no one can justify their complaints — ever — regardless of how intolerable their circumstances are.