“We are often troubled, but not crushed: sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Early Christians faced dangerous situations because of their faith. Their lives were often on the line. It was a tense and uncertain way to live. Paul’s letters were a bright light for them during those dark days. He told the early church at Philippi how Christ humbled himself even to the point of death and shares with the Corinthians that though they are in pain, they are never without a friend. Throughout Paul’s correspondence, he consistently brings up Jesus Christ as the one who has helped in the past, helps in the present and will help in the future. With Christ we can fight the good fight and run the race. Through Christ we find strength to do all the things that must be done, and his light shines out of our hearts. There are two key promises we should always hold close: that Jesus died for us, and that he will never leave us.
Hard times aren’t a new phenomenon. Adam and Eve were given a glorious place to live. Everything was hand made for them to enjoy and God was there living right next door and going on twilight walks with them. Somehow that wasn’t enough for Adam and Eve. They knew what was right but dove headfirst into wrong. It was a terrible choice, and the consequences were awful. But the good news is that God did not abandon them. He set in motion a plan that would rescue them and all the generations following.
A poster in a woman's kitchen had the words "As soon as this is over, I'm going to have a nervous breakdown. I’ve worked hard for it. I deserve it, and nobody is going to deprive me of it." With all that is going on in the world right now, that would be a tempting goal, and while it’s a poster that makes me laugh, I’m not putting it on my wall. As children of God and followers of Christ, we have access to a power beyond our own to help us through any crisis. We have a Savior who died so we could live, our sins are forgiven, our hopes have been renewed and Jesus loves us beyond our ability to describe. He will never abandon us, so we will walk with him, trusting that his holy light will see us through any and every dark valley.