7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 8We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. II Corinthians 4:7-11
As our steps take us nearer Holy Week and the Passion of the Lord, I am reminded of the words of the old Scottish preacher, George McDonald:
The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that we might not suffer, but that our suffering might be like his.
However, as much I’d like to think that being a follower of the Lamb exempts Christians from life’s trials and difficulties, I know that it just isn’t so. But what is so is this — that through his Passion our Savior is able to transform all our suffering into Redemptive Suffering. Our suffering will be made like his. Through Christ all our suffering and heart ache will bring life and blessing to others!
In today’s text Paul speaks of such Redemptive Suffering. Yes, Paul says, followers of Christ are afflicted – perplexed – persecuted – struck down. We are, he says, “always carrying around in the body the death of Jesus.” We feel the sting of Christ’s Passion in our lives all the time. But notice that this suffering is “so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.” Out of suffering and death, the Savior brings life in us and through us to others!
Just as Christ’s sufferings on Good Friday were transformed into new life on Easter morning, so in Christ all our sufferings are transformed into Redemptive Suffering. Jesus went to the Cross, not to make for us a way out, but to make for us a way through. He suffered not to make our way easy, but to make our way great.
Cling to this Gospel truth! In ways we cannot yet see, in ways we cannot yet imagine…………every tear, every heartache, every cross, will be redeemed to make visible in us the very life of Christ. Glory be to God!
P. S. For details on how you can participate in a Book Forum on the novel, “The Shack,”(Saturday, April 4), as well as other upcoming events, go to www.waterfromrock.org and click on the Schedule tab.
Weekly Classes with Tim Smith: Every Wednesday at the Franciscan Renewal Center (Garces Room of Piper Hall)
Wednesday Noon – 1:00 P.M. Jesus’ Teaching on the Spiritual Life: John 13-17
Wednesday Evening 7:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. Soulful Living: Everyday Spirituality for Busy People
NO CLASSES ON WEDNESDAY OF HOLY WEEK, APRIL 8.