Linda Beck: What does paradox mean?
According to a source on the Internet, “paradox is a statement that seems contrary to common sense; paradoxical means relating to or resembling paradise.
“One of the many great paradoxical truths of the Christian life is that the greatest adversity often produces the greatest blessings.”
I don’t know who the author of this statement was, but it got my attention because I have received many blessings from the adversities with which I have had to live. I have written stories that share these so it almost seems repetitious to be writing another story about adversities. But I had never seen this quote before, so I wanted to share it with those who may not see adversities as being blessings.
One Scripture that bears this out is Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose.” He called me to speak, to write, to share with others, to listen, and to love Him even when it seems He didn’t hear my prayers. But then the blessings started coming in for one who has been called and followed His purpose to the best of my ability.
In second Corinthians 12:8-10, Paul pleaded three times with the Lord to remove the thorn from his side. In verse 9 God said to Paul “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This became one of my favorite scriptures especially once I read the following: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest in me.
“That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, or difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I began to see where in my weaknesses, insults, and hardships, I became strong emotionally even if not physically. Insecurity causes us to be concerned about the approval of others, but life is too short to try to please everybody. Talking daily with the Lord, we should make our decisions not on what people say, but on what we feel God is telling us.
I once had a discussion with a doctor about the folks who don’t approve of all I do. Fearing the lack of understanding or approval of friends might cause me to miss my destiny. I must be secure in who I am and avoid the “naysayers” who take the high road and miss their opportunity to have a working relationship with the Lord. Because of my relationship with my Lord and Savior, I do not fear the “what ifs and maybes.”
It is important for me to look inside myself and focus on what God approves. Some people who might try to tell me how to live my life sometimes can’t even run their own. Not everyone understands God’s calling, but they have their personal opinions. But if God calls me to “get out of the boat,” I must listen to him so that he can open new seasons of growth. Forgiveness meets God’s approval.
Recently when my friend Marcia and I went to lunch at a local restaurant, we discussed the difficulties I had experienced getting through the double doors. Without the assistance of others, this is almost impossible for me. But God always seems to send a “willing servant” to help me. I pray that those who do so will leave knowing what a blessing they have been to this “disabled old lady.”
During lunch, Marcia had volunteered to pick up my groceries and drop them off at my house on her way home because my last stop of the day was to be with the dentist. When we started trying to get out the double doors, she saw what I had been telling her about. I had to wait on the RITA van service, but I told her she didn’t have to wait with me. We saw a van go by and she saw the difference from me sitting and her standing as we waited. Her reply touched my heart in a special way and I wanted to share that, but my short-term memory loss hinders me from quoting her exactly.
In a later conversation, however, she mentioned again that our times together have been a blessing to her as she observes the differences in what we are physically able to do, and yet she appreciates my desire to be as independent as possible. Later, we talked more and she “finds herself trying to see the world through my eyes.” And I hope and pray that she will see herself and our friendship as one of my greatest paradoxical blessings.
Linda Beck lives in Woodleaf. Email her at email@example.com