We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
- 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
In this verse, Paul shows us how he separated the pains and troubles of life from his faith in God. We also go through pain and hardship.
Often, it seems as if we have troubles all around us, and we are perplexed. Life throws us so many debilitating circumstances, often more than we think we can bear; some of them absolutely painful.
Yes, we have been completely baffled, not knowing which way to turn nor how to decide what to do. In these moments, Paul said that they did not despair. We can allow life's issues to impact our spiritual life like an osmosis occurrence, where troubles and agony seep into our faith, making us depressed and doubt God.
Paul and friends didn't let that that impact their spiritual life or cause them to be despondent or pessimistic. Paul says they were cast down — prostrate, absolutely flat, suffering persecution, but they were not destroyed or thought God forsook them.
Paul and friends were spiritually mature and sufficiently cognitive to be able to divorce their physical pain and mental anguish from their faith. This height of development is a position the Lord would like us all to rise to, but some of us don't let it happen.
What happens is that we allow the issues to impact our mental self, and we get depressed. Then we let that impact our belief and trust in God.
Paul was perplexed but did not let his spirit suffer from that type of despair. Despite being persecuted, he did not feel forsaken by God. He did feel cast down as things impacted him, but nothing was capable of destroying his sense of self in Christ.
Some of us get depressed when life turns for the worst. We have an extreme sense of loss when this happens, and we let it affect our faith. In other words we lose it and throw the towel in, even temporarily!
God calls us to be robust in him. Part of the spiritual life is to be able to have strong faith through life's disappointments, miseries, pains and persecution, and to stand firm for the weaker brethren. Paul steeled himself against the tide of oppression to stand tall for his flock, and he could write what he wrote. It gives us so much strength and hope to read this poetic scripture.
Today's Prayer. Dear Lord, thank you for the strength you give, which I need daily. Please help me to stay strong through life's trials, as I have a long way to go, and many trials will come against me. .