Friday, November 19, 2010

Both Sides Of The Same Package

"...We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted; but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

The following four descriptions were true of Paul due to the affliction that he was facing because of being involved in ministry:

He was afflicted in every way!
He was perplexed!
He was persecuted!
He was struck down!

And though you are never taught this in Bible College or Seminary, the truth is that everyone who commits their life to full-time ministry will experience this same package on some level.

The word "perplexed" stands out to me. It is the idea of having "no way out." That is one of the hardest parts of facing adversities within our ministries. In most cases, it is impossible to defend ourselves without coming across disagreeable or without "pouring the proverbial gas on the fire." In ministry you may be afflicted in every way. You may feel perplexed - like there is no way out. You may at times be persecuted. And you may even find yourself being struck down.

That package was true in Paul's day and it is still true in our day as well. But that is only half the story! Even during Paul's experiencing these four traits in his affliction, he also found the other side of the package to be equally as true:

Though afflicted, he was not crushed!
Though perplexed, he was not despairing!
Though persecuted, he was not forsaken!
Though struck down, he was not destroyed!

Yes, my friend, it is possible to be afflicted in every way but still not be crushed! It is possible to be perplexed and feel like there is no way out but still not be despairing! It is possible to be persecuted but still not be forsaken! And it is possible, through God, to be struck down, but even then, to not be destroyed! You are not destroyed!

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