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This is part two, a continuation, of my last post. You may wanna read that before you keep readin’ this one.
I have felt the darkness. I have felt in the darkness. I have felt numb. I have felt lost. I have felt tired. I have felt hopeless.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to 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 manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.2 Corinthians 4:7-11
And Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:3-10:
We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger;by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love;by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true;as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed;as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
You see, it doesn’t matter our state. It doesn’t matter our exhaustion, our feelings, our emotions, how terrible our day was. It doesn’t really matter. Hold on.
We try to cling to earthly things in those moments of pain far too much I think. If instead we clung to something worthwhile, something lasting, something eternal, Someone who died that we might live even, what would be the results?
But I speak in metaphorical terms, and these often do not help us much. Someone can easily tell you to “cling to God,” but oftentimes, we might end up asking ourselves, “How?”
It may sound inspiring to say such things as, “Hold on to God. He will never fail you. Press into Him, and He’ll bring you through it.” It’s not that those statements are all false. The thing is, what do those statements even mean for us? How do we actually apply them practically? How do we carry them out in the real world?
Perhaps it is praying. Perhaps it is falling on your knees, quite literally, and being silent before God while the Spirit intercedes on your behalf (Romans 8:26).
Maybe it means reading a whole book of the Bible. Maybe it means staying up all night poring over Scripture, no matter how weary or lost you feel.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.Galatians 6:9
Ultimately, sometimes we can’t do anything except wait for the Lord, even if it’s a long wait. He hasn’t forgotten any of His children and He never will.
There’s the other half of all of this though: letting go. Sometimes, we must let go in order to hold onto what’s better. This idea is even manifested in the words of Jesus:
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?Matthew 16:25-26
If you hold onto your life, you’re gonna lose it. It’s only in letting go of your life that you will really find it. And you must let it go for Christ’s sake.
But why would one want to do such a thing? Because to gain Christ is far better than gaining anything one might imagine on this earthly sphere of dirt and water or in the heavens of burning stars and brilliant moons.
Even in Heaven itself, nothing is of more worth than God. We literally could not ask for anything that might be better or more valuable.
‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.Matthew 13:44
The Kingdom of Heaven is far more valuable than everything we have. As Paul declared,
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.Philippians 1:2
We live for Jesus, and if we die, that is but gain for us. Therefore, we do not lose. In fact, we cannot lose, because whatever we experience as we live we experience as God’s tool to do His will, trying to please, honor, and glorify Him. Even in the pain. And, yes, we make mistakes, we sin, we fail. But we have not lost, not ultimately.
We live for Jesus, and if we die, that is but gain for us.Tweet
If we die, we get to be in His presence in Heaven sooner than if we had not died. If we live, we do God’s will and seek to honor Him. Paul even said in Romans 14:8,
For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
It does not matter! Regardless of pain, circumstances, trials, life, death, whatever it may be, we are the Lord’s as His elect.
And if we let go, then we simply grab onto something far better: we grab onto Christ and the life He offers. If we hold on, then we let go of what matters most and, in the end, lose everything.
Peter began to say to him, ‘See, we have left everything and followed you.’Jesus said, ‘Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.But many who are first will be last, and the last first.’Mark 10:28-31
All direct verse quotations are taken from the ESV
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