But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to 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; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 2 Cor. 4:7–10
Lord Jesus, comparing my stress with the Apostle Paul’s would be like comparing my water-coloring with John James Audubon, or my love for baking with Alain Ducasse (19 Michelin stars). There is no comparison.
Nonetheless, Paul’s honesty is a gift to all of us, this morning Sunday morning, June 2020. His freedom to acknowledge humility and hope, pain and praise in the same paragraph is encouraging, and liberating. Along with our sin, posing and pretending were crucified at Calvary. There’s no life in “pulling up our bootstraps,” but in putting on Christ.
Jesus, help us be far more preoccupied with the treasure of the Gospel than the pressures of life. Stress isn’t going away until you come back. Since your “surpassing power” is revealed most beautifully through our weakness, we accept our fragile, jar-of-clay-ness.
The Gospel will win the day, our heart, the nations, and the cosmos. Though there are seasons when medicating foolishly, finding another story, or running away look attractive, where else would we go but to you?
Jesus, you alone, are the Way, Truth, and Life—our perfect righteousness and hope of glory. In the coming hours and days and weeks, release the aroma of grace, the beauty of your heart, and the wonders of your love—to us and through us. So very Amen we pray, in your tender and powerful name.