For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:6-9 NIV)
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the pressing needs of those you love?
This week many of my friends have asked me to pray for serious issues – chronic pain, cancer surgery, critical diagnosis, marital problems, finances, etc. Their burdens become mine and I feel the weight of them pressing in. It’s a real temptation to lose hope amidst all the pain and suffering.
During these discouraging times, the reality of the verses in 2 Corinthians ring so true.
The treasure of the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ has been placed in our very fragile clay pots.
This week I felt hard-pressed. The situations my friends struggle with are perplexing. The ministries I’m involved in are being persecuted. The doctor’s diagnoses have knocked us down.
But, the words of Paul to the Corinthians were spoken to encourage them to persevere through their trying circumstances. He directs them to the source of their hope and their strength – the glory and power of God. These words are for us as well.
Jesus lived a normal human life. He struggled, as we do, and experienced the pain and suffering of the people he loved. If he had simply come to take our punishment and die a shameful death on the cross, the gospel wouldn’t have the power to fill us with hope.
But Christ rose from the grave!
This changes everything. Death has been conquered. The sting of death is soothed by the truth we too will rise. There is an eternity ahead of us in which there will be no sign of death – no sorrow, no suffering, no pain, no shame. Although all we have said, done, and even thought will be exposed, in Christ Jesus there will be no condemnation. (Romans 8:1 NIV)
In light of this truth, we face suffering and pain with a different perspective. We see beyond them to the hope we have of eternal life. We can stand up under trials. We are not crushed, not in despair, not abandoned, not destroyed. We are weak, but we have the God of the Universe on our side.
We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.