This morning I read 2 Cor 4:7-12, and as I read, this prayer was prompted in my heart:
(verses 7-10 from the Amplified Bible) “But we have this precious treasure [the good news about salvation] in [unworthy] earthen vessels [of human frailty], so that the grandeur and surpassing greatness of the power will be [shown to be] from God [His sufficiency] and not from ourselves. 8 We are pressured in every way [hedged in], but not crushed; perplexed [unsure of finding a way out], but not driven to despair; 9 hunted down and persecuted, but not deserted [to stand alone]; struck down, but never destroyed; 10 always carrying around in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be shown in our body.”
It just dawned on me that as Paul is writing these verses, he is expressing exactly how I’ve been feeling! I’ve felt hedged in on every side, troubled, oppressed, perplexed, unable to find a way out, struck down. I always have thought that feeling like this was a sign that You weren’t living through me, that somehow I’d done wrong and was failing You. But this is the natural life that everyone experiences, except because of You and Your resurrection power within me I am not crushed or driven to despair or deserted or struck out and destroyed! It may feel hopeless, but I know it never is, for You and Your power are there. You say that all temptation is common to man, but You always make a way to escape. That tells me that even Paul felt like I and many others have been feeling during this pandemic and while watching our country fall apart. But just as You gave Paul a way out and You have given me one as well. It is Christ in me the hope of glory!
(verse 11) “For we who live are constantly [experiencing] being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake,”
This feeling I’ve had is the constant experience of everyone as people huddle in their houses and hide behind face masks! It describes our feelings of losing the country we grew up in to the chaos and violence we now daily see. But because of You, I have an answer!
(Verse 11 through verse 18 continue) “that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be evidenced through our flesh which is liable to death. 12 Thus death is actively at work in us, but [it is in order that our] life [may be actively at work] in you.
13 “Yet we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, I have believed, and therefore have I spoken. We too believe, and therefore we speak, 14 Assured that He Who raised up the Lord Jesus will raise us up also with Jesus and bring us [along] with you into His presence.
15 “For all [these] things are [taking place] for your sake, so that the more grace (divine favor and spiritual blessing) extends to more and more people and multiplies through the many, the more thanksgiving may increase [and redound] to the glory of God.
16 “Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.17 For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!], 18 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.”
Dear Jesus, This is NOT my life! It is Yours! I have died, been crucified with Jesus on the cross. Your resurrected life is dwelling in me, through me, around me. The feelings of hopelessness may come, but it never IS hopeless. The hopelessness is only an illusion. Reality is life, abundant life!
How I thank You God for pouring out Your life in me and in all who believe in You. You are giving us hope. You are showering us with life. You are taking our light, momentary afflictions and forging in us longings for Your promise of an everlasting life with You that will be more glorious than we can possibly imagine! How we thank You for the precious treasure of Jesus You placed within us who believe. Your love and care for us overwhelms us. How we love You.
Julia Ewert (August 2020)