“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.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:7-8 MSG
I’ve often wonder why we go through what we go through. The ease of life does not come any easier. There is usually more chaos than there is calm . . . more difficulty . . . more hardship . . . more mistreatment.
As Paul wrote, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Cor 4:7). Or, as The Message writes, “If you only look at us, you might miss the brightness”.
Our brightness shines through our surrender. Jesus reminds us “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matt 5:14) There are times when God will use our own dark times to shine His great light. Jesus encourages us, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father Who is in heaven.” (Matt 5:16)
Paul tells the struggling Christ-followers in Corinth that God has a plan for their perseverence.
There Is A Power. In 1990, an electronic pop song was recorded by Snap! called, “The Power”. You may remember these impacting (I’m being a bit sarcastic here) words, “It’s gettin’ it’s gettin’ it’s gettin’ kinda heavy . . . I’ve got the power”. Paul reminds the Corinthians “the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Cor 4:7) John Piper writes, “It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man. God made man small and the universe big to say something about himself.” Yet, we are encouraged with thoughts to the Christ-followers in Philippi, “I can do all things through Christ who empowers me.” (Phil 4:13)
There Is A Purpose. Paul writes, “For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (2 Cor 4:11). I appreciate the approach The Message takes, “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!” The purpose is not to live in comfort and ease, but to point all to Calvary and Eternity. In another letter, Paul wrote, “For me to life is Christ.” (Phil 1:21) Our purpose is promoting His power in our own weakness.
There Is A Promise. Our promise is seen in our purpose. And, our purpose is strengthened by His power. Paul tells of his own testimony, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor 4:8-9). Beaten, but not broken. Desperate, but not defeated. Failed, but never forgotten. God promises that He will always be there. The psalmist confessed, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Ps 23:4)
Mandisa recorded a song that simple says, “He is with you”.
“He is with you when your faith is dead, And you can’t even get out of bed,
Or your husband doesn’t kiss you anymore.
He is with you when your baby’s gone, and your house is still,
And your heart’s a stone, cryin’ ‘God, what’d You do that for’ . . .
He is with you.”
“He is with you in the conference room, when the world is coming down on you
And your wife and kids don’t know you anymore,
He is with you in the ICU, when the doctors don’t know what to do, and it scares you to the core,
He is with you”
“He is with you when your kids are grown. When there’s too much space and you feel alone,
And you’re worried if you got it right or wrong. Yes, He is with you
When you’ve given up on ever finding your true love, someone who feels like home
He is with you”
“When nothing else is left and you take your final breath . . . He is with you”
Rest in His power, His purpose and His promise . . . He is with you.