A Reflection on II Corinthians 4:6-9
January is a month of grey skies, threats of snow, coughs and colds, and people generally complaining as if January isn’t usually like this. And I won’t even mention any political crisis! How good, then, in the midst of any gloom and doom you may be experiencing, to read and ponder the words of II Corinthians 4:6-9.
“God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ”(v6).
This gospel that we love, and rejoice in, and long to share, and have found to be so profoundly life-changing is from God himself. It is not of our own invention or due to our own ability of merit. We are merely clay jars! (v7). As such we falter from time to time, even fail. But we are never utterly broken. “We are”, Paul writes (vv8,9) “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed”.
Notice the repetition of “but not…”. Doubtless Paul had many times prayed about the difficulties he constantly faced. Did God answer? The fact that he could say “but not” indicates that he did. Do we sometimes feel that God does not, or is slow to, answer our prayers when we, too, are ‘hard pressed…crushed…perplexed…persecuted…struck down’? We will realise how much he is answering prayer when we stop and think about the ‘but not’s’ in our situation. Yes, we may well be up against this and that, but we are not ‘crushed…in despair…abandoned…destroyed’. Such is the power of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in the life of the believer!
As Christians we have this treasure, the gospel, in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
Whether you are just waiting for the dark days of winter to give way to the spring, or whether you are passing through dark days in your life and you cannot see beyond them, may you know “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”