2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT) We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.
We were crushed…
The words of the apostle Paul leapt off the page and touched my heart. We were crushed AND overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure. He was crushed. He was pressed with such great force that it nearly could have destroyed Him. Perhaps, it did. Life is hard. Faith seems so illogical. Hope, though substantial, is difficult to grasp sometimes with our “tired hands” and “weak knees”. (Hebrews 12:12) The Bible is clearly inscribed with red letters marking the words of Jesus, “the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13) Oh how I long to endure to the end and be saved.
I believe that this passage of Paul signifies the importance of our testimony. The voice of men and women who tell their stories with raw transparency so that others can relate. Triumphing over tragedy is not easy. In fact, it is impossible without faith in someone/something or some kind of hope. The crushing is only the beginning. It is important to know and understand that what was meant to destroy you will inevitably be the very thing that leads us straight to the Father’s Arms as believers. It is in the crushing that endurance is taught. It is not easy to endure. Endurance stretches us to the end of ourselves. It is only then that one must decide what to hold on to with their tiniest of strength and sheer determination.
Our son’s journey to overcome cancer was long and arduous. I could not have made it to the end without my Jesus. People who have never endured such a story will often say, “I don’t know how you did it. I couldn’t have done it.” Oh friend, of course you could have and would have. It is a choice already made for the parent of a hurting child. Quitting was never an option for the price too high. I shared the journey on social media and through this blog the entire time. It was not about me or even him. I reveled at the faithfulness of God through it all. God gave us His Word that He would live and not die. Live is exactly what he did and still does today. Though sorrow lasts for the night and joy always comes in the morning, it doesn’t mean that the sun doesn’t reveal scars of the battle through the darkness. Life will never be normal again. My delusion of control over the security of my family, situation in life and outcome of all circumstances complete shattered. But the new normal for me is that God is in control. When my dependency on self was eradicated, it had to hold on to someone or something. I chose hope. My faith cannot let go of the fact that when I thought all was lost – it was really an undoing for a renewing.
Psalm 34:17-19 (NLT) The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He rescue those who spirits are crushed. I believe these words with my whole heart. All the pieces of our brokenness have purpose. He is the heart healer. Hope restorer. He will certainly rescue those with crushed spirits because He completely understands. Why? Jesus was crushed for our sins. He carried our weakness. He was weighed down by our sorrow. He was pierced for our rebellion. He was beaten so that we could be whole again. (Isaiah 53:4-6) Following Jesus will produce suffering and sorrow in our life. Just living and breathing has troubles of its own on a daily basis. However, the conflicted heart and uncertain spirit must be dealt with so that the Lord can take all the pieces of our broken life and create the Masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10) Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life. Abundant life. Superabundant even. It begins with surrender and submission. No one will come to Him before the need arises. However, the greater the need the more desperate the heart to find Him.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (NLT) We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven 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.
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. It is only in brokenness that the shining Light of God’s Love can reach the depths of a once hard and dark heart. It is the only way. The fact that even with a broken heart it is possible to live, love, have faith and cling to hope is a testimony not of our ability but of His Faithfulness. This is the Jesus others would like to meet. This is the God they long to know, love and serve. What is your story? Were you crushed beyond your ability to endure yet God carried you through? Were you overwhelmed by problems too big to carry but God…? Tell your story. Shine the Light of God’s Love on the countenance of others. The enemy wants you to think it’s no big deal. Maybe he keeps telling you that it’s just a coincidence. The truth is that your voice may be the Voice of God that calls lost sheep home with a story of hope and inspiration. Your testimony is not your own but a telling of God’s Faithfulness that will cause others to find hope.
Psalm 119:116-117 (NLT) Lord, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed. Sustain me, and I will be rescued; then I will meditate continually on your decrees.
I am crushed. That’s okay. I live a broken life. It is on purpose. Our dependency on God is only found in the destruction of this life to fully embrace the hope of Heaven. To see the Kingdom over our culture and strive for it. There is more to life than this and it is revealed through tragedy turned to triumph by faith in the Living God. Sometimes the greatest freedom comes when we stop trying to hold it altogether and surrender it all to Jesus. To say, “Lord, not my will but Thy Will be done in my life.” It is a sweet release of human expectation that will result in divine participation. It will change your life for the better even if it causes pain in the beginning. The process of faith and hope manifesting full in our life is called endurance. We must endure.
Lord, sustain me as You promised that I may live. Please…do not let my hope be crushed. Sustain me as You have promised me. Rescue me. Until then, I will continue to meditate on Your Word and watch for Your Arrival. In Jesus Name!