We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Who would have thought these verses would have given me so much trouble? Well actually, I wouldn’t have had any trouble had I not been so hard pressed on every side for not coming up with a Catch over these seemingly simple verses, perplexed by not understanding why, persecuted by myself over my inability to get over this barrier, and struck down by a sense of utter failure.
In spite of that, I can say that, because of Christ in me, I haven’t been crushed; nor have I lost all hope; the Lord has not abandoned me; and I’m still here.
Pressures, perplexities, persecutions and calamities like these are common to us all, Christians or not, but going through them will show up what we are made of, or more importantly, who we have, or don’t have, inside.
We are all vessels created as human beings to hold something. Without that something, we are merely empty. Nothing in and of ourselves; only something when we contain what we were made for, and we were made to contain the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. This is what Paul calls the treasure (2 Corinthians 4:7) — the treasure in a common, ordinary clay pot made from the dust of the earth. My clay pot … your clay pot. Nothing, unless it is filled, but when it is filled with the treasure, we can and will go through anything, and everything, and God will make something of it.
It’s not about us, it’s about what we have inside.
You have a nearly 74-year old vessel, John.
You’re bound to be battered, bruised, and beaten to some extent.
But not crushed or devalued while you continue to preserve with care and present with love the treasures stored inside you.
Hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down by your personal Sanhedrin?
Continue on, then, and rejoice that you are worthy to suffer for the sake of His Name.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord, right?!
Happy be-earlied birthday, sir!
I have a friend who is hard pressed right now. He is facing terminal cancer and yet he is revealing the spirit of Christ within. He is thankful for the life that God has given, and is focused on preparing his family and church (he is a pastor) for his departure. He realizes that this life is temporary and that all of us will face death, some sooner than others. The grace and peace that he is displaying right now is a perfect illustration of what your catch is trying to say. Displaying the peace of Christ is what we are called to do, if our heart is full of that peace it will spill out when life rocks us. I’m praying for this brother and thankful for God’s presence in his life. He’s an earthen vessel just like all of us, but God’s glory is shining brightly through him as his clay is crumbling.
John, I remember God told Samuel at David’s anointing that man looks at outward appearances but he looks at the heart. You have a beautiful heart John, and it took all that battering and bruising to get there. Obviously you have learned to endure the hardships and have not tried to avoid them despite the temptation. It is what makes the Catch so down to earth, authentic and real.
It has finally occured to me, now that death is closer chronologically, that it would have been wise to live my life as if I have a terminal illness. That would have changed my priorities a lot sooner about what matters most. God used the pressure of circumstance on me, but it took years to get it.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, you must be and are spirit filled to crank out these Catches five times a week.