Covered – 1 Corinthians 15-16 // 2 Corinthians 1-8
Scripture Memory – Psalm 42:5 // 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
The Apostle Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth are in and of themselves a rollercoaster of emotions, theology, correction, and exhortation – and this week’s reading was no different! Paul goes from getting us all jacked up about the resurrection, to talking about taking up an offering, to forgiveness of those who hurt us, to reconciliation, to idolatry, to repentance, and then back to money. Whew! I got exhausted just doing the summary; I can’t imagine what the Corinthians felt when they read Paul’s letter for the first time. All of Paul’s letters to the early churches are great reads, but there is something special about his words to the church at Corinth. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have.
Now, as enlightening and life-giving as the reading was this week, what really connected with me were the Scripture memory verses.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? (Psalm 42:5a NIV)
I don’t know about you, but I connect with the words of the psalmist and Paul. There are many times where I feel hard-pressed on every side, causing my soul to be downcast. Now, it’s not that I believe God isn’t good, faithful, and present; I am just so enveloped in the cloud of despair, hopelessness, and darkness that I can neither see nor feel light.
Have you ever been there?
If you haven’t be prepared. At some point in time it is coming.
So what do we do when we feel this way? What do we do when our soul is downcast and disturbed? We do exactly what the psalmist says to do in the last part of the verse:
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:5 NIV)
We put our hope in God. We continually praise our Savior. But let’s be honest for a minute. We don’t feel like doing that when our soul is downcast, do we? When I can’t even feel God’s presence, the last thing I want to do is pray or sing some praise song to someone who feels absent.
It seems as if we’re stuck in the downward spiral with no way out. So what in the world do we do? How do we change our perspective to not only see/experience God but see/experience Him for who He is – the only One who can pull us out of this cloud of darkness?
We don’t forget in the dark what He showed us in the light.
Paul explains this in our second memory verse from 2 Corinthians 4:
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10 NIV)
We remember that even though we are still living under the effects of death in our world, the One living inside of us has overcome the world. Yes, we are hard-pressed. Yes, we are being struck down. Yes, the feelings we are experiencing are real and valid. But we aren’t defeated. We aren’t defined by the darkness affecting us; we have victory over it by the One who defeated death once and for all in the resurrection.
Don’t forget in the dark what He has shown you in the light.
Written by: Andrew Bates
Photo Credit: Lobostudio Hamburg