Afflicted, But Not Crushed; Perplexed, But Not Driven to Despair


2 Corinthians 4:-11
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

A sweet friend bought a Bible Study for me, Hope when it Hurts, before I left for Arizona for medical treatment. I was already doing a study on James that I wanted to finish so I didn't start it right away.

God, in His perfect Sovereignty, knew exactly when I would need this study.

I started this study not long after arriving back in Tennessee. The first couple of weeks home were very exciting. I was (and still am) so grateful for what God has done. I am so grateful for how far He's brought me.

Going home (back to Knoxville), however, was met with a painful realization.

We had been living in yet another home with mold.

and

We now know that mold will cause severe neurological attacks leading to paralysis for me.

And so we proceeded to lose our 3rd home in 3.5 years.

As I was lamenting this fact to my husband a few days ago, I read that day's devotional:

2 Corinthians 4:16-
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

This was written by one of the co-authors of the devotional.

I'll never forget the week we lost our home. It was the home that we'd fallen in love with four years before, and we'd said we'd never move again......
.....But God has a way of using painful circumstances such as these to move us in a direction we never would have chosen; such was the case for our family.



This treasure in jars of clay.

We are jars of clay. I can say this most especially of myself. My life is fleeting. Over the past few years I have learned the depth of my fragility.
Yet, God puts His treasure- the gospel- in us to show His glory. He can show through my extreme weakness His strength and that the surpassing power belongs to Him, not us.

I love this excerpt from Elisabeth Elliot's book, A Path Through Suffering:

Corrie Ten Boom was a woman of strong faith and a radiant face. Why? Not because she had not suffered, but because she had, and had responded to the suffering with trust. Learning the dept of human helplessness and weakness, she turned to her "strong tower" and He was faithful to His promises. One of the most soul fortifying pictures I have of her in my mind is of her getting up in the morning, standing up in her solitary cell and singing in a loud voice so that the other prisoners could hear, 'Stand up, Stand up for Jesus!'"

"'Oh, I never could have survived,' we say. Well, we were not asked to. But we could have if the Lord had allowed us to be put in her position, and if we had responded as Corrie did, looking to Him for the next grace. I mean, of course, that we could have survived spiritually. The body they may kill, but so what? Jesus said, 'Do not fear those who kill the body and after that have nothing more they can do.'"

Afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair.

I love the way the Apostle Paul put this. Sometimes it seems the trials will never end. One after another they pound you but Paul says they were not crushed or driven into despair.

We are now trying to start living again. We are dealing with the fact that we are homeless, again. I do not mean to imply that we are living on the street, Praise God!- but we are without a home for our family. We are in a living situation that is going to have to be extremely temporary. So now we have to save money and look for another safe place to live.

I will not imply this is easy or that we have no concerns at all, but we are not crushed nor are we driven to despair. We know our Heavenly Father will guide us and that He has a plan that we can not see.

We are, however, very tired. My husband is having to throw things that he has worked for away- again.
The kids and I are extremely stressed and, as of right now, only getting to see Steve on weekends and 1 night a week.
And now we have to find another safe place for me to live. This will be difficult for the rest of our lives. We will need to find a newer home and, if it isn't brand new, will have to perform at least 2 different mold tests before moving in. If we do have to move out of this area, I will have to find a way to stay in any area first to make sure I can handle it before we find a permanent place to live.

We know that "all things work together for good to those who love God and those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom 8:28) and we have to remind ourselves and each other of this fact daily.

But God is faithful. He is good. And He will provide.

Amen.

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