Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:1a and2a, "We know that our body--this tent we live in on earth will be destroyed...but now we groan in this tent." I hear you Paul, I'm groaning!
My question recently about my life is not "Why?" but "How?" How do I get through all that keeps being piled on my plate? How? As I've been journaling, praying and reading, my thoughts have turned to Paul. With everything he endured, how did Paul do it? So I have been turning to the second letter he wrote to the Corinthians to hear it directly from the man himself. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (New Century Version)
We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up the hope of living. We are persecuted but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed. We carry the death of Jesus in our own bodies so the life of Jesus can also be seen in our bodies.How:
*We are not defeated.
*We do not give up the hope of living.
*God does not leave us.
*We are not destroyed.
*We allow the life of Jesus to be seen.
Defeat. There have been many days where chronic illness has made me feel defeated. So much has been taken away because of my Migraines and Meniere's. Many of the hopes and dreams I have had for my life have been defeated. I wonder if Paul is talking about the bigger battle here. No matter what my chronic illness takes from me, I am still me. I am here: a fighter, a survivor, a warrior with God's Spirit inside of me.
"We do not know what to do." If we were in a church where the listeners gave choral responses, I would expect to hear an "amen" from all my chronic illness sisters and brothers. How many times have I felt like I have no clue which way to turn? Too many to count. When another preventative fails, or when a treatment option does not work, I feel so frustrated with not knowing what to do. But, Paul says "we do not give up the hope of living." Hope is having faith in something we cannot see. Paul is calling me to faith in the future God has planned for me.
God does not leave us. This can be hard to remember when we feel like God is not doing anything to change our circumstances. When healing does not come, when relief does not come, I have asked "God where are you?" But he is here. Another key of how to get through: remembering God is always near.
"We are hurt sometimes but not destroyed." I have been hurt to the point of feeling as though I were destroyed. I have laid in bed in such agony that I thought nothing could be worse than what I was going through at that moment. Perhaps how I am to get through those moments is to remember that this will not last forever; it will not destroy me. Whatever I am going through may attack or even kill my body, but it will never destroy my spirit.
I feel so connected to vs 10 which says, "We carry the death of Jesus in our own bodies so the life of Jesus can also be seen in our bodies." I can only hope that in some way through my suffering, God will be glorified. It is something I pray for daily. Paul is telling us to allow Jesus to work in us and through us. When I feel God working in me, I feel fulfilled and it helps me to get through my suffering.
Thanks Paul. I needed your wisdom today.