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 may also be manifested in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When Christianity is depicted apart from crosses, it always makes them scarier when Christians find out God actually does give them things they can’t handle all the time, despite clinging to a mistranslated verse that doesn’t actually say what they think it does. Because it isn’t you who handles all the stuff that’s bigger than you. It’s Jesus.
Christianity is never depicted apart from suffering because our symbol is Christ crucified for us sinners. A God who won’t associate with suffering is not a God who exists to be crucified for you. So there will be suffering because Jesus suffers for you to forgive you. There’s still suffering now, too, and it’s maddening. On its own, it’s soul-destroying. So Paul gives us something to cling to. We carry in our bodies the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in us. We are baptized into Jesus’ death. Into Jesus’ resurrection. That changes things. The world is bigger than you and full of things you can’t handle. But you carry with you the death of Jesus, suffering used for salvation, so the world cannot crush you. You carry in your body the Baptism He gives you, so you cling to the resurrection that gives you hope in the face of questions you can’t answer. You are not forsaken, because God is in the suffering with you and for you. So you are already brought through suffering. It cannot destroy you.
The existence of God doesn’t preclude the existence of suffering. It confirms it. You have a God who saves through the Cross. That’s a God who dives into suffering to save, so He’s a God who dives into suffering to carry you through yours, even if it’s more than you can handle. This is what it is to remember your Baptism. You are baptized. Make the sign of the cross. Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-10. The life of Jesus that you carry speaks to your pain. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Despised and scorned, they sojourned here; But now, how glorious they appear! Those martyrs stand, A priestly band, God’s throne forever near. On earth they wept through bitter years; Now God has wiped away their tears, Transformed their strife To heav’nly life, And freed them from their fears. They now enjoy the Sabbath rest, The heav’nly banquet of the blest; The Lamb, their Lord, At festive board Himself is host and guest. (“Behold a Host, Arrayed in White” LSB 676, st.2)
-Rev. Harrison Goodman is content executive for Higher Things.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.