This morning I felt compelled to write as I read through 2 Corinthians 4:7-16:
” But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
This has been an interesting last few weeks for my wife and I as we care for a dear friend of 45 years, a non-relative for which we have been responsible since the unexpected death of her husband.
In the last few days we have witnessed and amazing, if not miraculous grace over take her life. Her very personality has changed, not that she was a difficult person, but was quite “spunky”! We have watched her prepare her self for transition, though none us know the day or the hour! To witness the chambers of her soul, as we sit and listen to her pray is an amazing experience, having never seen evidence of her personal faith beyond church attendance, courtesy and kindness. As my atheist friends attest, apart from church attendance, traits not uncommon to the non-religious.
This evident grace, now long awaited has caused significant introspection on my part as well as with my wife. Yes, our own clay jars are becoming a little more cracked and marred, more evident as Paul writes that this “all surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
What is meant by an all-surpassing power? The ability to be “hard pressed on every side, but not be crushed” as this classic writing describes. To love someone for 45 years, pray for them, serve them without awareness, beyond the neighborly accommodation of time, that any of it is making a true spiritual difference in their life!
Yet, this week we have watched a transformation, amid the frustrating haunt that perhaps we had made the wrong decision in the matter of health care for our dearly loved friend. Now forever I will hold a memory in my bones of laying my hands on her unconscious body and praying that because of this all-surpassing power, I might on her behalf “remit sin”, as scripture affords us power to do!
Somehow this past week and now this morning’s scripture read, speaks volumes to me as to the benefit of not despairing but continuing to “carry around in our body (even for a lifetime) the death of Jesus”. That is the reality that because of what He did, His life can shine through us with tangible evidence of benefit to others. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are renewed day by day.”
“I believed; therefore I have spoken.”
Happy St. Valentine’s Day!!