How many times have you drawn comfort from these two verses? I know I have many times over the years. I love the reminder they provide that however difficult our circumstances may be at times, it is not as bad as it could be.
We are troubled: To think of all the different avenues of potential trouble is troubling in itself. Health crisis, Family crisis, Financial crisis, Spiritual crisis, Relationship crisis. One or more of these things crowding us in and it is easy to feel as though we are troubled on every side.
Yet not distressed: We are not trapped. However close and varied our troubles may be at any given time hope gives space to breath and think and believe! Troubled but not stressed.
We are perplexed: How often as we been unable to understand something clearly or to think clearly, simply filled with uncertainty. Just at a loss as what to think and sometimes even do.
Yet not in despair: It is important to remember three things when we are perplexed. 1. We have not always been perplexed. 2. We will not always be perplexed. 3. God is never perplexed! A moment of uncertainty should not rob us of all that is certain both in this life and the next.
We are persecuted: It is that feeling we have when things are bad that temptation to run, to flee. Some who never run with their feet often do with their heart.
But not forsaken: That feeling of being left behind in some place, to have been deserted. But we have the never failing promise that he will never leave us nor forsake us! Just because we feel all alone does not mean we are all alone. We have a friend who sticks closer than a brother!
We are cast down: The idea here is to throw down. Boy, have you ever felt that way? It could be by a betrayal. It could be through a series of difficult circumstances.
But not destroyed: Our faithful lord will not leave us in the hand of our enemies. We are never left to suffer the extremity. Things can be bad, but they could also be worse.
Yet the real power of these two verses is actually in the next verse!
2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
Think about that first phrase in light of what has just been written, "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus". All of these things are a shadow of the dying of the Lord Jesus that falls across our own lives. We experience in part what he experienced in full on our behalf.
You remember the 22nd Psalm that prophetic exposition of our Lord's dying agony. We should remember it often in our day of trial.
So we are troubled, feeling the problems of life closing in on us. Let us remember Psalms 22:12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. And, Psalms 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
So we are feeling perplexed and filled with uncertainty. Let us remember Psalms 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
So we are feeling persecuted and tempted to make a run for it. Let us remember Psalms 22:6-8 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
So we are feeling cast down. Let us remember Psalms 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
The point? All of these troubles we experience in life are simply a shadow of what our just Lord suffered in his dying agony! All our temporary suffering should remind us of what Jesus suffered. We are simply bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus!
" "That the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our body". It is important to remember that the intense suffering of the Savior gave occasion for his greatest victory, resurrection!
Being reminded of his suffering we should also be reminded of his faithfulness. Of how he said in the midst of such great agony, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. Our suffering is designed to cause us to hope in Jesus. The darkness of our suffering provides a platform to manifest the glories of Christ.