But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4: 7-10, 16)
What a gift Paul is to us. His life of following Jesus navigated both the heights and depths of human experience, and helps us get ready for both. Do you know what it means to be “hard pressed… perplexed… persecuted… struck down?” If not, I bet you will. Imagine what Paul must have looked like late in his life, after all the jailings, beatings, stonings and shipwrecks, not to mention the psychological effects of all the setbacks, betrayals and dying dreams. So just how does he not “lose heart?” His answer: “the death of Jesus.” Because of Jesus’ death there is no such thing as ‘hopeless.’ Because of Jesus’ resurrection, there is nothing God cannot make new. I have dear friends in the pit of life right now and you do, too. Their hope of renewal is in God, whether they know it or not. “Not crushed… not in despair… not abandoned… not destroyed” is our prayer for them. And more than that: “renewed.”
Lord, help me get to know you so well that I can absolutely trust you in any circumstance. You alone can make all things new. Amen.