Have you ever…
…done what you thought was a good deed, only to discover that what you did was considered offensive and resented by the recipient?
…said something that you truly believed was kindly-stated only to be shocked to learn that many people considered it insensitive and inflammatory?
…gone the extra mile in order to help a friend or serve a worthy cause only to learn that your intentions are questioned and your motives maligned?
…felt that you were slipping into a frame of mind that would best be characterized by words something like: I just don’t care anymore?
…wished that you could just wiggle your nose or click your heels and magically escape the crushing burdens that currently weigh you down?
…wondered why it is that being a Christian isn’t easy; why it is that the moment you were raised to live a new life in Christ you were not awarded a certificate exempting you from all of life’s struggles?
I imagine you’ve done, said, felt, wished and wondered similar things. If you have, would you mind sharing how it is that you found your way through times like these? Your insights would, no doubt, be a blessing to many.
If you are there right now, then I’d like to offer these words of encouragement from the inspired pen of the Apostle Paul:
[5-6] Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.
[7-12] If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!
[13-15] We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!
[16-18] So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
—2 Corinthians 4:5-18, The Message
Blessings to all,