Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:8-18 (New International Reader’s Version)
8 We are pushed hard from all sides. But we are not beaten down. We are bewildered. But that doesn’t make us lose hope. 9 Others make us suffer. But God does not desert us. We are knocked down. But we are not knocked out. 10 We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies. In that way, the life of Jesus can be shown in our bodies. 11 We who are alive are always in danger of death because we are serving Jesus. So his life can be shown in our earthly bodies. 12 Death is at work in us. But life is at work in you [Jesus]. 13 It is written, “I believed, and so I have spoken.”—(Psalm 116:10) With that same spirit of faith we also believe. And we also speak. 14 We know that God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. And he will also raise us up with Jesus. He will bring us with you to God in heaven. 15 All of that is for your benefit. God’s grace is reaching more and more people. So they will become more and more thankful. They will give glory to God. 16 We don’t give up. Our bodies are becoming weaker and weaker. But our spirits are being renewed day by day. 17 Our troubles are small. They last only for a short time. But they are earning for us a glory that will last forever. It is greater than all our troubles. 18 So we don’t spend all our time looking at what we can see. Instead, we look at what we can’t see. What can be seen lasts only a short time. But what can’t be seen will last forever.
Yesterday, a friend of mine had the courage to ask for prayer for something they had been struggling with for 12 years (sounds like the unnamed woman in the in the bible, now that I think about it). They are at their wits end in carrying this burden, but as we know, sometimes it’s when we finally speak on it, when we no longer allow it to be hidden in the shadows, that it no longer has control over us, as we once thought. It is then that we can really submit something to God and trust ourselves enough to leave it there. I pray that they finally either receive deliverance or the peace of God (Jehovah Shalom) with the outcome. Being the season of change we are in, I believe change is coming their way. Now, they just have to have faith to live the life God calls for them.
I have another friend who seems to be bound by decisions and choices in life that may sometimes seem as chains, but what they fail to realize it is not the decisions and choices that chain them. It is they. Although you can have joy without happiness, it is better to have both. They said the journey of a thousand miles, starts with the first step. Well, living according to God’s purpose starts with faith. However, they too are in the midst of a change, because they can not hide from God any longer. I pray that my friend has the faith to do the unthinkable, which is surrender to God and follow wherever He leads. I have never seen Him contradict himself and His word has always been the compass for each of us to follow.
Although I have never had sexual intercourse, I am a victim of sexual abuse. My experiences are so “flimsy”; I often wonder can it be considered abuse and not just youthful playing with a friend or a stranger…. But then, I remember the shame, fear, and silence I have housed in me for longer than I care to remember and ask myself, “Can I term it anything else?” Fast forward years and I remember the taunts boys of trying to be men said to me on school house steps. How one in particular used to corner me…to touch me, without my consent. How he made me feel dirty and ashamed to be the woman I was becoming. Even as an adult, I tried to understand why some men, approached me in a sexually disrespectful manner. Like they knew something about me, I didn’t. Those experiences shaped and changed my psyche. I know why I have sought intimacy with “unavailable” men. I know why I used to shy away from touching and being touched. I understand, why I was the woman I was yesterday. But I also understand who I am today. Even when I didn’t know it, He was watching over me, even when I didn’t “feel” it, He held me.
But what ties our three stories together? Brokenness. Choices. Redemption. Faith. Those four powerful words all lay at the feet of Jesus . We may be hard pressed, but not crushed. We may be perplexed, but not in despair (v. 8-10, NIV). We may be broken, but we are not beyond healing. We may suffer, but the suffering is never in vain. God… Jesus …the Cross can change your life (v. 10-12). I do not speak from someone else’s testimony, I speak from my own. I said it before and I will say it again, you do not have to accept the ugly. Therefore, what do you need to lay at His feet today? My wish and prayer for each of you is to deepen your relationship with God. Read the bible. Pray. Get on your knees. Know who Christ is to you, for the world will have you think He was just a man, but He wasn’t. He was God in the flesh and He is arisen. The world is not going to get any easier or better. Look around and know that truth. As a matter of fact, a lot of Christ followers are being attacked this year. God is building and strengthening His army for a reason. The battle is a spiritual one. And the only way to have life is through Christ. If you don’t know Him, seek Him. He will always meet you.