Some time ago, my daughter and I loaded the nine dogs into the van and took a holiday. Our first day out, we ran into an unexpected blizzard as we travelled across the top of the mountains. Then came overcast skies, the rain, and the cold wind.
During time with friends, we experienced bright sunshine and good times. But as we travelled home again and were passing through the forests, we witnessed a previously-burned area and were amazed to see amidst thousands of charred acres, every so often, an unscathed, mature tree proudly standing, its face raised to the sun. "Isn't that odd!" we remarked. We wondered why certain trees had been spared while hundreds of thousands did not escape the blaze.
As we pondered this question, these verses entered my mind:
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 – We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (NIV)
And I thought to myself, How true!
Just like our holiday trip, life brings a variety of weathering circumstances our way as we travel along: blizzards of difficulties which press in on us and leave us with perplexing questions; bullies that beat upon us like the driving rain just to make themselves feel better; or illness which strikes us down like a cold north wind when we least expect it. But St. Paul goes on:
2 Corinthians 4:10 – We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (NIV)
Yes, because of the living power of Christ within us, we are not crushed, we need not despair, we are not abandoned, we are not destroyed. Just like the trees that felt the heat of the fire but escaped the inferno, so also are we left standing amidst the weathering circumstances of life as our faith allows us to raise our face proudly to the Son, knowing that the bright sunshine of His everlasting friendship and love will carry us through until the good times come again.
Prayer: Thank You for this marvellous truth, dear Lord, a truth which is ours to embrace amidst the weathering circumstances of life. We pray, this day, that no matter what may come our way, we may "fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV) And in this, we find our hope and strength. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Onward Christian Soldiers" (Lyrics)