We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
- 2 Corinthians 4:8-12
“For some of you, the journey has been long. Very long and stormy. In no way do I wish to minimize the difficulties that you have had to face along the way. Some of you have shouldered burdens that few of us could ever carry. You have bid farewell to life-long partners. You have been robbed of life-long dreams. You have been given bodies that can’t sustain your spirit. You have spouses who can’t tolerate your faith. You have bills that outnumber the paychecks and challenges that outweigh the strength.
“And you are tired.
“It’s hard for you to see the City in the midst of the storms. The desire to pull over to the side of the road and get out entices you. You want to go on, but some days the road seems so long …
”Let me encourage you… God never said that the journey would be easy, but he did say that the arrival would be worthwhile.”
- Max Lucado, In the Eye of the Storm
Don’t you feel that way sometimes, as Max Lucado describes it?
Some of us have had a tough journey along the road to that ‘arrival.’ Christian persecution takes many forms. Some of it hurts our feelings, some of it hurts our pocketbooks, and some threatens our very lives. When you realize how hard the persecution could be, you should thank God for the “Persecution Lite” that you might receive. You’ve lived to tell your story about the love of Jesus for another day.
My parent’s life-long dream, their version of the American Dream, was dashed and turned into a nightmare when I was young. I grew up in their disillusioned and rebuilding years, taking most of that time to learn what had happened. Then my work-life journey never recovered any of my parents’ loses, in fact sinking lower in earthly terms. Then I realized my journey was an education. Now it is my turn to teach others.
Lucado’s line about our bodies not being able to contain our spirit… That should happen to each of us. At some point, this tired old, mortal husk will turn to dust, but our spirit will live on. But maybe Lucado was talking about our dreams, plans, and service to others. There is always another person that needs a helping hand, and those of us who have always been the ones to offer that helping hand sometimes get to the point where we just can’t anymore. For example, I might have helped people move in the past, on occasion. One of the bits of inertia that keeps me from spending more time preparing to move to another location is the fact that I couldn’t help myself to move these days. My back has nothing left. After the first box, I’d be watching others life and carry.
But in looking at the Scripture, we may have bad things happen to us, many because of our faith, but God ensures and assures us that we will not be defeated.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.