Monday, March 22, 2010

2 Corinthians 4:7-5:10 (Suffering)

It seems a lot of people in ministry today are struggling with burnout and exhaustion. Paul struggled with the same thing. He was close to loosing heart many times in his ministry. The fact is that the Christian life—the Missional life—is a hard one.

We are pushed to the limit so that it is evident that God is the source of our power, not ourselves. We are also pushed to the limit so that Christ—in His death and in His life—will be visible within us. It is all for the magnification of the Gospel. That is the reason; that is the calling that we have. There is no other purpose that is more important. All of the suffering that Paul faced was worth it as the Gospel expanded ever wider.

All of the outward hardships, sufferings, weakness, physical difficulties, and emotional drain we may face are secondary to the “unseen rewards” being earned. “Unseen” meaning in the spiritual sense; not merely overlooked or unrealized until some future revelation. Also, not in the “It’s a Wonderful Life” sense; as if we really are making some huge difference and we simply can’t see it. Any contribution we make to the Kingdom is tiny in comparison to all that God has done. Tiny may be our part in God’s plan. The “Rewards” are not for us either, but rather for God’s kingdom and glory. That is why we press through the difficulties.

This temporal existence is nothing in comparison to the glorified, eternal life that God has/is preparing for us. Suffering is a part of this life, but not a part of His ultimate plan for our future. We can take courage in this and endure the suffering we face here in order to accomplish the tasks set before us. Death is no source of fear for death means to be present with Christ away from any more pain or suffering.

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