May 22, 2019·Brenda Hicks
The idea of perseverance captured my attention when reading 2 Corinthians 4 this week. The same short phrase – “Therefore…we do not lose heart” – is repeated twice (verses 1 and 16). It’s interesting that inserted between the repeat of that phrase, there’s a list of circumstances that describes times when losing heart could easily happen.
I identified with the kinds of challenge, difficulty and adversity described in verses 8 and 9:
“Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option. We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out.” (The Passion Translation)
All of us face “stuff” that presents plenty of opportunity for our hearts to grow weary and lose hope. As you read through the following verses, I’m pretty sure you can identify, like I did, with the kinds of circumstances that require a choice to persevere and to not lose heart.
The very real stuff of life… the big, little and not so happy stuff of life.
The I don’t know what to do stuff of life, the season of waiting for prayers to be answered stuff of life, the unexpected financial challenge stuff of life.
The frustrating and disappointing stuff of life, the unannounced assault of sickness/disease stuff of life, the loss of employment or strained friendships stuff of life.
The kids have been sick for weeks stuff of life, the I feel alone or overlooked stuff of life, the heartbreak of a wandering prodigal stuff of life.
There’s just a lot of stuff!
Sometimes, it’s easier to identify and focus on the stuff, rather than on the resource and power that is ours as Christ followers. But that’s not the intended focus of this chapter. Verse 7 states, “We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that the extraordinary overflow of power will be seen as God’s, not ours.”
The glorious treasure in us…the extraordinary overflow of God’s power in us…this is where our hearts find strength and our minds find focus. From a place of strength and focus, we persevere because of a confident trust in our God.
Dear one, know there is no press of hell against you that will succeed in crushing you. There is nothing of your stuff that cancels His commitment to NEVER leave you nor forsake you. His glorious power in the common clay jar of our lives enables us to not lose heart.
Father God, I invite You into the stuff of my life. Thank you for giving me the power to persevere in the face of challenge. I give You the stuff of my life that is pressing me to lose heart and ask You to come and overflow those circumstances with Your extraordinary overflow of power.
Pastor Brenda Hicks