The Apostle Paul writes, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from 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.” II Corinthians 4:7-9 Paul writes these words having lived through shipwrecks, floggings and imprisonment. There were people who went out of their way to cause him grief and pain which created a great deal of anguish in his life. No one who studies the life of Paul comes away thinking that he was unaware of the pain and struggles that we face. Paul well understood the stresses and strains of life.
A job is lost. Our best friend dies. We are treated unfairly. Life can throw us some very painful curves. We have choices to make whenever this happens. We can wallow in self pity. We can dish out grief to our friends and family . . . We can make sure that everyone knows about our pain. We can even isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. Or we can move on. We move on by letting go of yesterday’s pain and trust God with it. Sometimes, this will mean a period of counseling to deal with the issue. Traumatic events need to be worked through – heartache and loss need to be grieved, but there comes a time to let go. Only in letting go can we ready ourselves for a tomorrow that is better than today.
If we were to try to do this in our own power, it might well be impossible. The good news is that we are not alone. The power of God lives in us. God made us to be over-comers in the traumatic events that we face. Paul developed a resilience to face the hurts and struggles of his life because he had come to know One who would give him strength to endure. God continues to come to us, offering us a source of power and strength to overcome our personal traumas and confusion.
The scripture reminds us that God wants to be with us to get us through whatever difficulties, crisis, or heartache we face. When Paul wrote the people of Rome that “Nothing can separate us from the love of God,” he was echoing the words he had written earlier to the people in Corinth. Paul’s witness has reverberated through the ages as we add our own assurance, that truly, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. And in that power – through that power – we find the strength to overcome. Truly, God’s love and power embraces us in all the circumstances of our lives.