2 Corinthians 6:9-10 (New International Version)
9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (New International Version)
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
I was thinking this morning about the importance of acknowledging the truth about difficulties, yet choosing not to be defeated by them.
Some of us err by ignoring the reality of challenges, others are brought down by them, but in Paul's letter to the Corinthians there is a pattern for life worth adopting.
Winston Churchill rallied the British people during the Second World War, promising them nothing but blood, toil, tears and sweat. I thought of how he inspired them to not give up the fight so that he and they became famous for their grit and determination in the face of a fearsome foe. The verses that I read this morning reminded me of that.
I noticed that Paul managed to communicate a very hard reality without sounding defeated, by ending each statement of fact with the words "but," or "yet," followed by a statement of hope and faith.
Negativity allows our physical and spiritual beings to be invaded by toxicity and hopelessness. However when we finish each statement of difficult truth with a "but" or a "yet," as Paul did, it is a powerful thing and I believe that God rises up with agreement with us.
At work we try to practice the Fish Philosophy and one of the four Fish principles is, "Choose Your Attitude." I think that's what Winston Churchill challenged the British to do. I think that's what Paul was doing, choosing to declare victory in the midst of apparent warfare. It's what I've been reminded of today and what I want to practice in my heart and speech.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (New International Version)
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.