I know that God could remove this virus, but I am more encouraged that He is not perplexed or surprised by this. He is not overwhelmed. He is able to comfort us come what may.
Yes, we are to take comfort as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 “Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.“
I once set the King James version to a melody. It reads “We are troubled on every side but not distressed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”
Jesus is not perplexed or in despair. Jesus was forsaken, but rose victorious for each of us. The world tried to destroy Him, but He rose again and now has the ability to live within us through the Holy Spirit. We may have feelings of the things mentioned by Paul, especially during this pandemic. We also have responsibility for how long we linger in those dark moods and thoughts.
In 2001 I made the fourth printing of a devotional booklet entitled Let. Here is one selection.
“In John 14:27 NKJV Jesus gives us astounding Good News! He says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Two lets in one powerful verse!
“Some may say that when the peace of God enters our hearts it makes our anxiety and fear to cease, but I think we have much more responsibility than that. If I give my heart over to anxiety I can easily block that balm of peace my Lord offers to me. If I constantly meditate upon my fears, peace eludes me. I am responsible for the state of my heart and the Lord won’t force His gift of peace upon me if I choose less than the best He has to offer.
“We have clear and precise instructions from Jesus that we are not to let certain things occur in our hearts. The very fact that He notes our heart’s condition several times points out the potential for anxiety or peace to rule within us. I find no benefits in ‘beating myself up’ when fear or anxiety is resident in my heart. There is however, great benefit from examining my heart, finding those weakened areas, and giving them over to God. When I find such an area, I discipline myself to RUN into God’s presence and not dwell on the ‘should have, would have, could haves.”
“Come, Lord of Peace, teach us how to quiet our hearts and abide with You. Amen. ©2000 Molly Lin Dutina
3 thoughts on “2 COR 4”
One sentence really stood out to me, Molly–“If I give my heart over to anxiety I can easily block that balm of peace my Lord offers to me.” I am making a conscious effort to watch only a limited amount of news and to check on the stock market only once a day for I know that too much attention to the news or stock market does nothing more than raise my level of anxiety. I try to remember Matthew 6: 27 (“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?) and verse 34 (“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”) One of our local Episcopal churches is offering a daily evening service at 8:00 via Zoom teleconferencing software that I have been participating in most nights. There is something particularly significant to me about this prayer that I hear each evening that reminds us that we are all in this together, “Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.”
And “Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may Rest In Peace.”