Here is the scripture for this week.
2 Corinthians 4:16 New International Version (NIV)
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
I find myself, coming out the other side of this sickness, with a renewed ardor for God. In my feebleness, I had to accept that, no matter how much I desired things to be different, I was unable to be effective. I was in a position of total and complete powerlessness, unable to care for myself or for my children. I was helpless, and I was isolated. It was a reminder for me of how truly vulnerable I am.
God touched me when I was in that place, and He let me know that I am not alone. Even though, physically I felt worse than I can remember feeling in a long while, God somehow managed to reach inside and change my perspective. He ministered to me on a level much deeper than my illness. The result is that I love Him more now. I trust Him more. I want to know Him more. And I am humbled, so very humbled, by His presence.
Whether the outward ‘wasting away’ that troubles us is represented by personal sickness and hardship, or, on a larger scale, by the decline of society culturally and morally, or by the atrocities committed against innocents, the environment, or the myriad of other things ‘wrong with the world’, this scripture reminds us that we do not lose heart.
Though we are frail and vulnerable, we are a part of something larger and eternal, and the experience we are having now is a gift. We have the opportunity here, in this life, to lean in to God in a way that is afforded us only through walking this Earth in this form. To reach out to God, to bind ourselves to Him, is a right and a privilege that we can only experience to it’s fullest capacity through our human vulnerability, through our ‘wasting away’.
It is put best by St. Paul writing a bit earlier in this section of 2 Corinthians:
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 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. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
Though we suffer in our suffering, we do not lose heart, for we know that our God, who Loves us, is with us. He is giving us the strength/courage/faith, etc. we need to persevere.We are made this way, frail and vulnerable, in order that we may better know and experience the Glory of God and His Life eternal, in order to live in relationship with Him and to experience the true Life.
Let us, then, follow the dictates of His pattern in our design. Let us lean in to Him, rely on Him, and press in to Him for everything. Let us LIVE IN RIGHT AND CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, without losing heart, knowing a larger plan is in place, perfect and eternal, and that our God is, inside, renewing us eternally, constantly, yesterday, today and forever.
Therefore, we do not lose heart. We do not lose heart. We… do…not….lose …heart. Instead, we Live in His renewal, praising the One who is the Light and the Life of all people.
Through my recent sickness, I was reminded that God is so much bigger than my frailties and sufferings. He is powerful and I am powerless. I can trust His wisdom and His ways and, though things might seem bleak according to my own limited experience and understanding, I am heartened to know that God is not bound my limitations. He is the Life within me, renewed, each day and for eternity. He is what’s real.
If this speaks to you, write this simple scripture out this week and post it to your bathroom mirror or bedroom wall or refrigerator. Read it. Memorize it. And meditate on the command and assurance and meaning it brings.