Daily Dose, Sept. 13 — Singing the Blues

 

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. (2 Corinthians 4:7-12)

My wife and I have a version of Murphy’s Law that we sometimes say to one another. When experiencing something difficult and unexpected, we’ll sometimes just mutter to the other, “Because…you know…it can’t just be easy.” Life is just that way sometimes, isn’t it? There are days when we CRAVE easy-ness. Many days simply don’t hold that for us, though.

In the Bible, the apostle Paul lived anything but an easy life. Even though he’s largely responsible for much of the spread of Christianity to the larger Mediterranean world, his life was beset my many difficult and challenging experiences. He was shipwrecked…more than once. He was hunted by authorities. He was incarcerated…more than once. We can imagine that there may have been days during which Paul uttered, “Because…you know…it can’t just be easy.”

The promises of God bring many different things to us, but a life of basic easy-ness is not one of them. And so what do we do — as people of faith — when we encounter situations that aren’t easy for us to deal with? How do we cope? One way is to look at Paul’s example. As one who endured hardships more difficult than many of us can imagine, he never lost his faith that God was present. Our reading today finds Paul saying something like, “It’s not easy…but it could be even harder. I’m beaten down some…but not all the way. I’m not at 100%…but I’m still alive and kicking. This is big…but God is bigger.”

I am pressed but not crushed… — Rev. Brad Greene