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)
Expectation is the act of looking forward. Much is expected of us as believers, such as learning and growing in our Christian walk. If I could summarize the Christian life in a nutshell, it would be this, a constant learning and growing. I have experienced more “learning and growing” days than “great and fantastic” days. I am not ashamed to say that. Learning and growing are healthy, normal experiences. Both have to do with the process. The process is sometimes painful, often slow, and occasionally downright awful! Life is tough. It’s not Disneyland, a rose garden or cloud nine. It definitely isn’t filled with daily miracles that balance our checkbooks and recharge our dead batteries. Such expectations are not only unrealistic, they are unbiblical.
Are you experiencing afflictions? Can you identify with the text? I want to encourage and give you assurance and hope that in spite of troubles, persecution, or being knocked down, you must learn how to get up when you are afflicted or crushed by life’s circumstances. We face all kinds of trouble and difficult situations every day, and sometimes it looks like we are not going to make it through the crisis. Remember that the presence and power of God is within you.
As Paul noted in 2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,” God will never forsake you. God saves and delivers in every situation and trial, no matter how difficult.
You may be experiencing trouble on every side, but God’s power is able to save you from being crushed. Look at what God’s Word promises:
I. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed” (2 Cor. 4:8a KJV)
“Troubled” means to be pressed, to be squeezed, to oppress, to be hedged in and pressured. “On every side” means in every imaginable way and place and occasion. “Distressed” means to be kept in a narrow, cramped place, to be crushed.
Let’s summarize this verse in today’s language: I may be pressed, squeezed, oppressed, hedged in and pressured by life’s crisis, but it will not keep me boxed in, cramped in and it (crisis) will not crush me. Praise the Lord!
II.“Perplexed, but not despair” (2 Cor. 4:8 KJV)
Now let us examine the remainder of 2 Corinthians 4:8b where Paul says, “we are perplexed but not in despair.” When we are “Perplexed” we are at a loss, in doubt. We find ourselves, not knowing and questioning, or wondering which way to go, what to do and what to say. It also means being perplexed and unable to find an answer. The word “Despair” means to be hopeless, to have no confidence or assurance, and to be without any sense of security. In today’s terms then verse 8b might be summarized as follows:
I may have doubts and questions, I may not have all the answers, I may not be on the right path, but I am not without hope. I have confidence that He who began this good work in me will finish it.
III. “Persecuted, but not forsaken” (2 Cor. 4:9 KJV)
The word “Persecuted” means to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment, to annoy or to trouble persistently. The word “forsaken” means to desert, to abandon. Let’s summarize it in today’s language:
You will be persecuted, but we will not be forsaken. You will always experience opposition; sometimes the opposition is hot and severe. Persecution takes many forms such as: ridicule, isolation, jokes, criticism, mockery, threats, being ignored, and neglect. God will never forsakes, abandons, or deserts us. God never leaves us alone. His presence and power, is always with you. “I will never leave or forsake you” (Heb. 13:5) KJV
IV. “Cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:9) KJV
The phrase “cast down” means to be smitten down, to be struck down, or to be knocked down. The word “destroyed” means to reduce to useless fragments, to kill to ruin, to defeat completely. Let’s summarize it in today’s language. We will experience some knockdowns in our lives. You may knock me down, but I will get up. You may have two strikes on me, but you are not striking me out. “We fall down, but we get up.”
“The supreme characteristic of the Christian is not that he does not fall, but that every time he falls he rises again. It is not that he is never beaten, but he is never ultimately defeated. He may lose a battle, but he knows that in the end he can never lose the campaign” – William Barclay
In the end we win!
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