|Image by Pete Briscoe|
S: 2 Corinthians 4:6-18 For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness,” is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge of God in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed, always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our body.
For we who are alive are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our mortal body. As a result, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. But since we have the same spirit of faith as that shown in what has been written, “I believed; therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak. We do so because we know that the one who raised up Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus and will bring us with you into his presence.
For all these things are for your sake, so that the grace that is including more and more people may cause thanksgiving to increase to the glory of God. Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
O: "Life is suffering," the Buddha said. In a sense, he is correct in this, and this passage from the Bible agrees. But that's not the end of the story.
Actually, for most people reading this blog, I would guess that life is not as much suffering as for the majority of the people in the world. We don't have to worry about where our next meal is coming from; we have a place to sleep tonight, etc. Recently, we have read of the 21 martyrs in Libya, the 4,000 killed by Boko Haram, the 10,000 killed by ebola, and the many-times-more grieving relatives of these victims.
But we have our "little problems" -- as I grow older, the years of playing high-impact sports have worn out my knees and now I have to do orthopaedic exercises to prevent knee pain, and have to be careful how I walk up stairs, and how I lift heavy objects, and how I sit due to my coccyx injury, etc.
Paul himself suffered from all sorts of ailments. But he points out that even as our physical body will wear away, and all of us will physically die, our inner person can be renewed day by day. Eternity beckons, and our lives here is but "momentary light affliction."
But it's not just "buck up and pull yourselves up by your bootstraps"! We have this treasure in jars of clay. What is this treasure? It is the power of God for salvation.
For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness,” is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge of God in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6
A: In light of this, let us stay true to Christ, even through the daily toil and trouble. As that old Negro spiritual says,
Wandering through this world of woe
But there is no sickness, no toil, nor danger
In that bright land to which I go.
Therefore, we do not despair. We continue to do what is right, in spite of everything, "though the fig tree does not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vine" as Habakkuk says.
We can rejoice, even in our "momentary light affliction", as we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
As we recall, when Jesus was walking on water, and Peter stepped out of the boat to walk to him, as long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he could also walk on the water. Only when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the storm around did he begin to sink. Yet even as he did, he cried out to Jesus and Jesus reached out his hand and rescued him. (Matthew 14:22-36)
P: Father, thank You that we have Your treasure in our jars of clay. When we see the winds and waves buffet, help us to keep our eyes on Jesus. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)