By Victoria Kiker
II Corinthians 4:8-10, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 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.”
Recently, my family and I have been going through a difficult time in our lives. In fact, we’re still in the midst of what has been one of the most trying times we’ve ever experienced. One day while in prayer, I began asking God why He would allow such a difficult trial in my life. With a heavy heart, I flipped open my Bible with no real direction in mind and came across these verses in II Corinthians.
Like Paul, although in very different circumstances, I too was feeling everything he felt. I was troubled seemingly “on every side.” There was no good news coming my way, and I didn’t know if there would be any light at the end of this dark tunnel. I was "perplexed,” even feeling a little persecuted. You know, the “Why me?” attitude. My heart and mind were "cast down.”
The shadow of overcoming depression began to loom as I became more and more overwhelmed with the unknown. Ever been there?
I knew I’d have to combat my feelings by encouraging myself in the Lord (I Samuel 30:6). Yes, I was troubled, but I didn’t have to be distressed (to suffer from anxiety, sorrow, and pain). Jesus had already “bore my grief and carried my sorrow” (Isaiah 53:4). I was, and am still at times, perplexed. But I’m not in despair. He knows my need, my situation. Nothing has taken Him by surprise! I may have felt persecuted, but I have NEVER been forsaken. My gracious, loving Father “will never leave me, nor forsake me” (Hebrews 13:5). I have been cast down in spirit, but this has NOT destroyed me. In fact, it’s caused me to build a deeper, more intimate relationship with my Lord.
Then the Lord in His great mercy opened up this Scripture in a way I’d never seen it before. Verse 10 gave me the real reason why I believe God allowed this circumstance in my life: “that the life also of Christ might be made manifest in our body.” This trial had not come to just teach me a lesson so that I could pass the proverbial test. It came so that Christ Himself would be made manifest in me — in my body.
The word “manifest” means “to be clear or obvious to the eye or mind.” I began to question, is it “clear and obvious” that God is in me as I walk through this trial? When people see my family and me treading these dark waters, do they see the grace of God and the joy of Christ, or do they see us troubled, perplexed, and cast down?
Above all else, I desire for Christ’s life to be seen in me. He is worthy to be honored and glorified no matter the situation I find myself in — good or bad.
How about you, friend? Are you going through a troubling time? Maybe a time when you have no idea how things will turn out? I encourage you to allow Christ to be seen above all else. No matter the outcome, the Lord will be faithful to you. Trust Him! Pray and ask Him for strength. And when you don’t know what to pray (I’ve been there many times), know that He understands and will intercede on your behalf.
I’ll leave you with a quote by C.H. Spurgeon. He said, “God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind. And, when you can’t trace His hand, you can ALWAYS trust His heart.”