I must say, I’m loving 2 Corinthians. My favorite New Testament book has always been Ephesians, but I’m really digging 2 Cor. right now! Who knew that there was such great stuff in this letter? Okay, so it is divine revelation and all, but don’t you sometimes feel like there are just books in the Bible that you kinda want to skip over? I don’t know why I felt that way about the books to Corinth, but I’m rediscovering them and loving what I’m reading.
Let’s start with 4:16: Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.
Unfolding grace! I love that picture! It’s like we just get a little bit of the picture at a time, as though the grace he has for us keeps opening up more and more as we follow him. His grace goes before us and behind us and around us, drawing us in and wrapping us up.
Or how about 1:9: As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it [the persecution they faced], we were forced to trust God totally– not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead.
We were forced to trust God totally. Yeah, not a bad idea. As I’m reminded about the fact that I’m only get a little bit of the picture at a time, it makes sense to trust totally the one who really does see the whole darn thing and is in charge of it anyway.
Personal story. One month ago today (hmm, interesting–just realized the time line!), I asked some friends to pray with me for healing from some sleep issues that I’ve been dealing with for almost 3 years. God answered with a yes! I was healed… for about 2 1/2 weeks. The issues have returned in the last week and a half and it’s been a testing of my faith to understand– well, actually, I don’t understand at all– to process the fact that I had a very temporary healing experience. Why would God give that gift and then allow it to be taken away so quickly? I know God to be gracious and kind, powerful, caring about the smallest details in our lives. At first I felt betrayed, like God was playing a trick on me. What the heck?
I could continue to interpret the circumstances in this light. (Our emotions are the result of the way we interpret the circumstances, not the circumstances themselves!) But I would be wrong, because that does not match up with the character of the God I know. So, instead I choose to trust God totally and believe that there are many things I do not see.
As part of this journey, I’ve been also forced to choose between vulnerability and isolation. It took courage to share with the people who had prayed for me, and with whom I had celebrated God’s answer, that the issues had returned and I was back to square one, in a sense. I’m thankful that I had learned to recognize the voice of the enemy whispering to keep it to myself and not bother anyone with the rest of the story. I know that isolation is death. Did you hear me? It’s that dangerous. When I cut myself off from community, even in a small way, I guarantee that I will walk the wrong path for a while. I need them to help me believe that God is good, to remind me that there is more we can’t see, to cry with me and feel my frustration.
Is this a small issue compared to what many are dealing with? You betcha. It’s not cancer or divorce or death. But it’s another reminder that I am not in control, I am not in control, I am not in control. My life is not my own, thank goodness, and it’s not mine and I don’t own it. I am a strong, independent woman who chooses to throw my life completely on the mercy of the only one who can truly make life worth living and who is uncompromisingly FOR me, WITH me, CHEERING FOR me, and has the power to CHANGE me.