Ok I admit it, I used to love this sketch, but today it reminds me of something more than just comedy…although HA! This sketch still makes me laugh.
“In every way we’re troubled, but we aren’t crushed by our troubles. We’re frustrated, but we don’t give up.”
(2 Corinthians 4:8)
This has been one of my favorite passages for a long time, and I’ll tell you why…one word ‘Hope’. Not ‘hope’ in the sense of wishes, like “I hope it will be warmer tomorrow”, but rather the confidence in something so much more absolute and dependable. The hope that is conveyed here by the apostle Paul is a confidence in God and in the mission of this great truth of Christ.
If someone who had been beaten for his faith could relate to such an emotion as hope, then there must be something to it for us as well. Paul had been obsessed with eradicating these heretic followers of Christ when he was known as Saul, before the blinding celestial lights on the highway to Damascus came on. His experience there transformed him into a “won’t back down” kind of missionary and evangelist. He wasn’t in it for fame, certainly not fortune because there was none and his political and notoriety took a nose dive following his decision to declare Christ’s message to the known world. Paul knew that this road he was on would lead him to his eventual death…yet he didn’t take the next exit off this highway.
It kind of boggles the mind doesn’t it? This dude was beaten for his faith; he had been put in chains, and was serving Christ in various house arrests, ship wreaks, and eventually his ultimate sacrifice of execution. If there was ever a “who’s who” of hard-core Christ followers, Paul would most definitely be on that list! Yet in his difficulties, in his personal struggles and leadership struggles, he writes this letter of encouragement and hope to a church he hadn’t seen in a year.
The very first chapter he writes; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in ALL our afflictions so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, which the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”(2 Cor. 3-4).
Not only was Paul confident in this hope that was in God, but he wanted others to know this comfort, confidence and hope too. His love for others placed him in danger yet he didn’t quit, withdraw, or deny his allegiance to God through the Messiah Christ Jesus.
Have you been crushed, pressed on all sides? Do you feel discouraged, let down, torn by life circumstances? Have you considered throwing up the white flag and giving up? You are not alone! I’ve been there, might be there again tomorrow…I don’t know. But what I do know is that this message that Paul wrote a looooooong time ago, is for me and you too! We may not face certain death for our convictions or declarations of faith, but we do face trouble because of it. Your struggle might be spiritual, physical or a little of both. Whatever you’re going through today, you are not alone, and God does NOT want you to give up either!
I’ve never been or wanted to be on the “who’s who” list of Hard-core followers of Christ, but I know still today, God calls us to take giant stands for Him, and whatever comes of these convictions and proclamations…we won’t back down or quit. This isn’t some call to arms, or some strange militia rant, this is a declaration of faith, and the knowledge that God will comfort you and me even in the most difficult of circumstances.
So stand firm, be bold, and don’t give up!