Have you ever been around people who are just full of hopelessness and negativity? They constantly choose to see the bad in circumstances and dwell upon it. Notice I used choose there because we decide how we respond to unfortunate circumstances. We can choose to sulk and despair over the bad things in life or we can choose to trust that God is in control. Easier said than done, trust me I know. I’ve chosen both ways before and I can say without a doubt choosing to trust in God is a much better route.
In times when hopelessness tempts me and despair knocks at my door, I like to turn to Paul’s teachings. Paul is so honest in his writing and I love that about his books. He doesn’t sugar-coat his thoughts but he tells the truth, even if its not what people want to hear. He understood his own weakness and that he could only overcome the world by the power of God within him. He understood that life was hard and it wasn’t going to get any easier just because he accepted Christ as his savior. That’s a big misunderstanding Christians have. We think that being a Christian exempts us from bad circumstances, but this is an inaccurate assumption. If we never experience any bad times then we will never have the great opportunities to grow in Christ that bad circumstances so often bring. Take a look with me at 2 Corinthians 4: 7-10. What does Paul say? Pay special attention to verses 8 and 9.
In verse 7, Paul starts by reminding us of what we have on the inside of us, which would be God’s power. Not man’s power, but God’s all-consuming, ever-abundant power that has no bounds. Then he goes on in verses 8 and 9 to tell us that we may find ourselves in circumstances that tempt us to feel beaten down to the ground, worthless, hopeless, like there is no way out. But, he reminds us that we will never be overcome. We will never be overcome by life’s circumstances with the power of God working on the inside of us. Nothing on this earth or in the spiritual realm is capable of trumping God’s power. Paul says in these verses, “we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed”. How is that so? Because our faith is in the Lord and His power to make all things work for the good of those who love Him. Though our enemies may surround us and we may see no way out, we can stand firm and trust that God will see us through. We can rely on the peace that Jesus Christ offers to keep us from becoming distressed and hopeless.
At the top of Granny’s Bible on the page where I’m reading from today it says, “Paul’s assured hope of immortal glory”. I find ample encouragement in the phrase hope of immortal glory and in the final verse of the text I asked you to read with me, verse 10. It says, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” That’s what this life is all about. Living out Jesus’s life through our mortal bodies, proving to the world that His death on the cross changed our lives forever. Letting God manifest His power through our weakness. Standing firm in our faith through all life’s trials because our hope is not found in these mortal bodies but in the eternal glory we will experience after physical death, the hope of immortal glory.