Monday, April 16, 2012

A Lovely Paradox

In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, Paul writes:

We are troubled on every side,
yet not distressed;
we are perplexed,
but not in despair;
but not forsaken;
cast down,
but not destroyed.

I read those words last week and they've made an impression on my heart ever since. There is a lovely paradox in these words. And I've wondered since then, what kind of a religion or faith will promise those things? We are promised we will be troubled. We are promised we will be perplexed. We are promised we will be persecuted, and even more, we are promised we will be cast down.

But yet.

We will not be distressed.

We will not be in despair.

We will not be forsaken.

And we will not be destroyed.

What beauty in those words.

As I've walked my journey these past couple years, I've wrestled with that great, big, ugly question of why. I've wondered: isn't my Christian life supposed to be good? Isn't God supposed to take away my horrible circumstances, and have everything fall into place the way it's supposed to happen?

But God has gently shown me I've got it all wrong. Life is tough. And although I've looked, there's nothing in the Word that says it will ever be easy. Or the way we want it to be. And when I choose to follow Him, I will be persecuted. I will be cast down. I will face adversity at every corner.

But through this darkness shines a great light, and sometimes I wonder whether or not that light can shine as brightly without walking through darkness. Through that suffering I am offered promises that are so great. That to me are worth walking through trials and pain to see the beauty of my Savior.

For I will not be distressed, even in times of trouble. Even when life goes nothing like I've planned, and anger and pain and heartache chase me wherever I go.

I will not despair. Even when I feel the world has fallen from underneath me, even when I feel my head has not a warm place to rest at night. My hope rests in Him.

I will not be forsaken. For even though my closest family my forsake, He will never leave my side.

And most importantly, I will not be destroyed. For the power that rose Christ from the dead lives in me, and neither pain nor death nor trial can ever take that from me.

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