We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
I have been thinking about these verses a lot this past ten days. As a faith community and as a community in general, we have been hit pretty hard. We are grieving the loss of so much, filled with pain, anxiety, questions, doubt, and sorrow. For many of us, it seems like we have been walking around in a daze, stumbling around in the dark looking for a light. It seems surreal, almost like we are in some sort of horror movie and looking down at ourselves from above, thinking that this could not possibly be us.
But in the midst of our pain, something extraordinary is happening. We are not crushed. We are not destroyed. Though surrounded by darkness, there is light shining in and that is the light of Christ. I see it in the way that people are interacting with each other, the way people are giving strength and compassion to each other. I have seen it through text messages, emails, calls, hugs, and a thousand other ways. As a community, we are rallying around each other and giving support to everyone who needs it. We are standing because we have a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ. Even as we cry, we feel the love of Christ coming to us, a love that defeats sin and death and gives us new life. Even as our hearts ache we feel the strong arms of Christ wrapping around us. Even if we are not sure what the next step forward, we see Christ guiding our path. The life of Jesus is being made visible in us.
The road is long. We will have ups and downs. We will continue to grieve and wonder and question. But we will not be destroyed because we are not forsaken. We are there for each other. We will need to continue to be, to reach out to each other for support, prayer, and help. But most especially, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is there for us as well. Every day. We can lay our burdens at the foot of his cross, we can lift up our eyes to the hills because our help comes from Christ who is our refuge and strength.
On a personal note, I want to thank everyone who has said kind words or given me support of any kind during these hard times. A special thanks to my wife Amy for continually being the greatest wife ever. Thank you, Trinity, for reminding me that ministry comes not just from me but from all of you to others and to me as well.
I’d like to end with more words for 2 Corinthians 4, this time verses 16-18: “16So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.”