Don’t Give Up!

“That is why we never give up.  Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  For our present troubles are small and won’t last long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”-2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Things happen in life.  Unexpected circumstances pop up and changes the routine of our daily lives.

Illness

Loss of a job

Divorce

Loss of a loved one

Natural Disasters

Terrorism stealing lives and security

These things and many others can shake us at our core.  However, we have a hope that non-Christians do not.  We have Jesus.

It doesn’t matter what goes on in our lives, our souls are safe.  We are secure in Christ.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10- We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.  We are perplexed, but not given to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.  We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.  Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

Friends, let me say this clearly: As Christians we are not immune to suffering. We have a choice of how we deal with situations that come our way.  We can moan and groan and say life is not fair.  We can wallow in our frustration and pain.  We can sit on the sidelines of life and say woe is me. When we live like this we are giving the enemy what he wants.

Instead of living in self-pity because of what life throws at us, let us take time to look at the verses above. Paul says yes, our bodies are dying, but our spirits are being renewed every day.

How can our spirits be renewed?

First of all, giving God the praise in every circumstance really changes our hearts.

Second of all, spending time talking with God throughout the day and taking time in his word makes a difference.

Thirdly, remember Paul’s words in verse 17, “our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!”  When we look at things from God’s perspective our thinking changes.  Our bodies are but a shell.  This life on earth is temporary, but our souls are eternal.  What happens now does not even come close to the glory we will see in eternity.  When we look at life this way, we can have great hope and joy.

Paul says in verse 18, “We don’t look at the troubles we see now, rather, we fix our gaze on things we cannot see.”  We cannot see what God is doing behind the scenes.  We also cannot see the future, however, we can be assured God is in control and he knows what is best for our lives.

In the midst of the difficult circumstances, it is okay to grieve what has been lost.  It is okay to be angry.  It is okay to hurt.  However, let’s not linger there for too long.  Let’s lift our eyes to Jesus, the author of our hope.  Let us rejoice in knowing that these circumstances are only temporary in the light of eternity.

If we turn our eyes upon Jesus and hold on to him, he will do amazing things in our lives.  He can change our hearts and draw us closer to him if we allow him to.  Don’t close the door on him, instead, open it wide.  Let Jesus in.  Allow him to soothe the pain.  Allow him to show us he is always with us.  He will never leave nor forsake us.  Trust him, yes, it can be very hard to do so after so much pain.  Yes, we will have many questions and many “whys?”.  Tell Jesus about everything.  I promise, it will change us for the better.

Prayer:  Father God, life can be so difficult at times.  I don’t understand why things happen the way they do.  I don’t understand why we don’t get healed instantly.  I don’t understand why people have to lose their homes due to natural disasters or terrorism.  I don’t understand why loved ones have to die so early in life.  However, the one thing I do understand is that you are in control.  Help me to be like Paul and rejoice in you.  Jesus, I love the fact that we are never abandoned by you.  You are always with us.  You never leave us.  I invite you in and ask for you to fill my heart with joy and peace.  Help me to never give up.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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