Despair

Despair

Today’s Scripture Selection: Second Corinthians 4:7-9

It is one of the selections from scripture which I love most of all:

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show 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.”

It speaks so poignantly about how we are so fragile in some ways – like simple clay jars – and so easily damaged.  And yet, it speaks so powerfully about the fact that this is by design, so that God’s power can be so obviously at work.

If we were always strong, always capable, always in control, always sure, never afraid, never at fault – we would be quick to claim all the credit for what we have done in life as solely our own doing.  And, sadly, many try to do that.

But, painfully aware of our limitations, weaknesses, faults, and sin – we can bear testimony to the life changing power of God all the more.

We need never, ever despair.

We may be tempted to do so, now and then.

But if we tap into the ever ready, ever available, powerful love of God – despair need not be our destination – no matter how tough life is in the moment.

So celebrate this fact – this nature that is yours – of being a “treasure” in a “clay jar.”  It is the very way of experiencing God’s work in your life – and bearing testimony to it – again and again.

Prayer:  Thank you, Lord, for working as you do, in my life.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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