Editor’s Note: Our overarching theme for devotions during the five months of the liturgical calendar called Ordinary Time is Jesus is sending his church. Using Michael Frost’s B.E.L.L.S. acronym as a framework, the topics will relate to missional living.
- As “sent” people, we are invited to…
- bless others generously, in word and deed (July),
- eat with others hospitably (August),
- listen to the Spirit while engaging with others (September),
- learn Jesus’ teachings as a disciple (October),
- and, sent people share the good news with others (November)
Silent battles are being fought every day. Many people daily are tripping over every obstacle of doubt and frustration. We have seen how many people faced seemingly insurmountable challenges during the past two years. And we have been encouraged to be kind to one another because we are not aware of the silent battles that the next person is facing. How are you? Are you almost at the end of your rope? Are you feeling lost and barely hanging on to the hope that is being eaten up by wave upon wave of discouragement?
Can we listen to the Holy Spirit for encouragement? And can we share encouragement as we listen to our friends and neighbors express their frustrations and troubles? Read Paul’s encouragement.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 (NIV)
Paul urges us “therefore, we do not lose heart…” stemming from a faith conviction, not merely a positive courageous attitude. Notice the contrasts in the words of the apostle. We’re wasting away outwardly, yet inwardly being renewed. Though our troubles seem to go on forever, are but momentary. While the weight of our troubles may seem heavy, he declares them as light – and they are achieving for us an eternal glory that outweighs all.The wasting away of our outer self corresponds to our mortal frame going through the hardships mentioned in verses 7 -12 of the previous chapter. God who has shaped us assures that we do not simply walk alongside him, but in him we live, move, and have our being. We are being renewed within the reality of his love. Our joy in this life is not contingent upon our circumstances. He can make our heart to sing even in time of difficulty. He can give us joy that is deeper than our suffering. We can trust our God. We can learn to enjoy this journey through the freedom of faith-filled expectation. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thank you for carrying us through our difficulties. We surrender everything in your hands. We may not see everything nor understand all these painful challenges, but we trust your heart. Use these difficult experiences to renew us from the inside out. Empower us to listen for your voice. And equip us to be good listeners to others, sharing your voice of hope as they need it. Amen.